Friday, April 23, 2021

Plastic, plastic, plastic and a few smiles


As promised yesterday, I am going to talk a bit about the seven plastic numbers.  Three of the numbers are safe, three should be used with caution, and two should never be used.  Let me explain.  Look closely at any piece of plastic and you will find a recycling symbol at the bottom, top, or side of each plastic object.

This recycle sign looks like a triangle of arrows with the plastic number inside.  It’s the number inside the triangle that counts, because each number corresponds to a different type of plastic.
#1 Plastic is PET or PETE (Polyethylene terephthalate).  It's one of the most commonly used.  If you used plastic today, chances are it would be PET.  It is used in water and beverages bottles, food jars, mouthwash, peanut butter jars, and other food containers. It is clear, mostly food safe for one time use, and is recyclable.  It can never be heated, but can be shredded for reuse. 
#2 Plastic is HDPE (high-density polyethylene).  It has a high strength-to-density ratio, thus the name.  This plastic will withstand heating and freezing so it can be used in various weather conditions.  It can also be used over and over.  You will find it in cosmetic containers, plastic envelopes, cleaning supply containers, stools, chairs, outdoor furniture, rope, and milk and juice bottles/jugs.  Since it can be used over and over, it is one of the safest plastics.  It can be recycled up to 10 times.
#3 Plastic is PVC (polyvinyl chloride).  It is one of the most dangerous plastics and one of the least recyclable.  This item is strong and elastic due to softening chemicals, which is phthalates. This plastic causes problems to the human hormonal system. It affects children’s development, including their immune and endocrine system. These harmful chemicals also cause cancer.  It is found in shower curtains, cleaner bottles, pipes, cooking oil bottles, window and door frames, floors, children's toys, and clear food wrap.  It is toxic when heated.  It cannot be recycled. 

#4 Plastic is LDPE (Low density polyethylene).  It is a thermoplastic and one of the oldest grades of polyethylene. It is food safe because it is used to make grocery bags and the bags that hold newspapers, sliced bread loaves, squeezable bottles, and fresh produce.  Reuse this plastic at least a few times before moving it to a garbage bin.  Most recycling facilities do not accept it.

#5 Plastic is PP (Polypropylene).  It is used to make the food containers, rope, carpets, bottle caps, disposable plates, cups, and cutlery, disposable diapers, and cereal box liners.  It is also considered microwave safe, but that only means the heated product will not be deformed in the microwave.  It should be reused, because most recycling plants will not accept it.  

#6 Plastic is PS (Polystyrene) or Styrofoam.  It is used to make disposable coffee cups, packing peanuts, coolers, to-go food containers, CD, DVD cases, egg cartons, and building and home insulation.  It is cheap to produce, lightweight, and can be easily formed.  It can take the form of rigid polystyrene or formed Styrofoam.  One of its many drawbacks is it breaks up easily and ends up on beaches and in the ocean.  Some facilities will recycle it, but most still will not.

#7 Plastic is Other.  Any type of plastic that doesn’t fit into one of the first six categories falls under this heading.  This recycling logo also stands for polycarbonate (PC), which is very dangerous to humans and animals.  It is found in baby bottles, car parts, medical and dental equipment, electrical wiring, and sports bottles and equipment.  This plastic is often made out of multiple plastic types or out of other types of plastic that can’t easily be recycled.  Most recycling facilities will not accept it.

To recap, #2, #4, and #5 are relatively safe to use.  However, even if a product is listed as microwave safe, it should not be used in the microwave.  Please use plastic products with great caution.  You will be safer by doing so, and so will the planet.

These guidelines are for the States.  I suspect recycling practices are quite different in other countries, especially after reading some comments from the day I shrunk #6 plastic.

Since I said I would be back to Friday Smiles this Friday, I knew I had to add in a few funnies.  My friend Lisca often shows these signs from Indian Hills, which I learned is a community in Colorado.  Here are a few for you to laugh at.

Thanks to those of you who visited my bEARTHday bash yesterday, and as promised, I hope you learned a bit about recycling plastic.  I look forward to reading Jan's take on plastic in the U.K.  Now let's join Annie (at A Stitch in Time) and the lovely ladies who join her.  Thanks again for visiting and spending a bit of time with me this Friday.

20 thoughtful remarks:

Iris Flavia said...

Wow,, I remember PVC-floors were "fashionable" back in the ... 80´s? But then... asbestos was "OK", too.
I´ll never get the idea of "coffee to go" in the first place. Sit down, read the news, watch people,what ever, but run (or go) with a coffee? How hectical do you have to be. Get up 15 minutes earlier and start the day properly!
Yes. I am old, LOL.
#7 in baby bottles?!

We use a ceramic bowl for heating food in the microwave, I don´t trust the plastic containers that say they´re safe for that...

We throw any plastic in a yellow container. We. The always so correct Germans... have no such concept, can you believe this.
(We certainly recycle most plastic-bottles, those have a sign).

If I ever can travel and visit your country I at least know of your concept!

:-) I have two three leaves clovers from fellow blogger Shari here for luck.
LOL! I once in a store asked if they have a lift, as the escalators were made with walls of "glass" and I´m afraid of height - you see it all. The sales girl said, "No idea, I´m claustrophobic".
Had to re-read the science-thing, funny!
Do accidents happen in this area? I´d always read and laugh!
Glad my Brother will live long (optometrist).

I´m just having some on my nose and ears till tonight. My glasses... Reckon my Bro took care it´s "good" plastic... So... I smile.

Annie said...

Very interesting read a lot your plastics. Love the funnies.
Annie x

Valerie-Jael said...

Interesting pst and some fun funnies! Have a great day, take care, hugs, Valerie

Let's Art Journal said...

Thanks for all the information! I try to limit the plastics that we buy which isn't always possible so it's fab that we have such a great recycling facility for plastics here in Lancashire, they have just started taking more types of plastics which makes me happy 😁. Loved the funnies too! Wishing you a happy Friday and weekend! Hugs, Jo x

craftytrog said...

Great funnies, and interesting read on the different plastics Elizabeth!
Alison xx

Elephant's Child said...

Love those signs.
I think our numbering system IS different.
I recycle what I can (which includes soft plastics here) and try and avoid plastics as much as I can.

Lisca said...

I try to avoid plastic packaging, but it is still very difficult in a supermarket. Here in our local shops and in the market it is no problem. I have those nylon nets in different sizes for my fruit and veggies. That works very well. I also have my own shopping bags, so I don't need a plastic carry bag from the till. We have a card with the codes stuck to our recycling bins at home, so I am aware of the codes and what they are. But a lot of people don't even look on the container. I keep my bottle tops separate as there is a large container outside the school to collect these in aid of a particular sick child in our area. (I don't know how this would raise money but hey, I'm happy to participate)
I chuckled at those funnies. Yes, I have no idea who thinks these up and If it is a real sign even, but they sure are funny!
Have a lovely weekend,
Keep smiling,

Laurie said...

We live in a small northern town and as of yet don’t have as advanced recycling program,all plastics aren’t accepted at our small facility, just number1 and number 2 plastics, it’s so maddening but I just avoid buying anything plastic if it’s possible, of course glass, tin and aluminum is recycled and we have places to bring appliances , paints, other things like that but we have a long way to go in the recycling area, since I became interested in zero waste we have very little trash, thank goodness. Your post was great, I learned a lot! ❤️👍

Felix the Crafty Cat said...

Hi Elizabeth, that was really interesting about the plastics and I will save it for future reference as I do use plastic tubs rather than throw them away so now I'll know which ones are safe so thanks for that. Loving the funnies too. Hope you're well and Bleubeard too. Hugs, Angela xXx

RO said...

Happy Day after Bearthday! Such great and fun signs to get Friday off to a great start too. Hugs, RO

CJ Kennedy said...

Good information on plastics. I really enjoyed the funnies, too.

Jeanie said...

Aren't the Indian Hills signs the best? Whoever puts them together is very clever!

Thanks for all the breakdown on the plastics. Some familiar, some new!

mamapez5 said...

Welcome back. Its nice to hear from you again.
This was an interesting read Elizabeth.I do find that much of the plastic out here is not labelled but i am learning what can and can't be recycled. A lot of charities collect drinking bottle tops because they are made of different material to the bottle, but they only get paid a few pence for each ton! I guess it all helps. I avoid accepting unnecessary plastic wrapping but sometimes it can't be avoided. I think our recycling rules are a bit more relaxed than yours. We have big yellow bins and you can put any plastic into them. I don't know how they separate it out.
I love puns and those signs always make me smile.
I hope you are keeping well now. Kate x

Annie said...

I remember when the world thought plastic was the greatest invention ever! Now, NOT! I don’t like consuming anything from plastic. Sometimes there’s no choice, but if there is, I choose not to. Nor do I microwave using plastic.
I love when I see signs that are a play on words and make you stop and think. These are such fun to read.

Divers and Sundry said...

Good information. They keep making recycling more and ever more difficult here, but back when it was simpler I needed my reading glasses to distinguish those tiny numbers.

My name is Erika. said...

Nice write up about plastics. I always fins it interesting how many kinds there are, and how they were thought to be the wonder chemical of the last century. Now look at the mess they create. Did you find anything about microplastics in your research. I've heard of them getting into water bodies but not sure what type of plastic they are. I am glad they are finally actually using PET plastics to make things like lawn furniture and even blankets. And I had to laugh at your funnies. Especially the last one. Have a good start to your weekend.

Lowcarb team member said...

I enjoyed your post, a very interesting read.
Yes you have been more technical regarding plastic than I was in my post (thank you for the link you gave).
It is just so important that we all do what we can to protect our planet.

I enjoyed the funnies.

With the weekend almost here, I hope you have a good one.
Here in the UK it seems we are going to have a sunny one, which will be lovely.

All the best Jan

Rita said...

I try not to put plastics in the microwave at all. I can never remember what the signs mean on the bottom--LOL! The signs as so funny!! Really gave me a smile. :)

Olde Dame Holly said...

The Indian Hills Community comes up with so many funny sayings. The person is just a wit! I loved them and thanks for the education about the plastics. Here it all goes in the recycling bin but then they don't actually recycle it anymore, just put in landfill, due to no workers to sort through it.

Lynn Holland said...

Those signs are so clever and funny. You’ve given me a good of chuckle. Thank you x