"We know already that some plastics are safer than others but it's time to know which are the safer ones.

Have you ever wondered what the symbols on plastic containers mean? We see them all the time and we know they are there to tell us something, but what?!

They are actually telling us a couple of things:

  1. If the plastic can be recycled
  2. What the plastic contains
  3. How likely the plastic is to leach
  4. How bio-degradable the plastic is

We know already that some plastics are safer than others but it’s time to know which are the safer ones.

What the symbols on plastic containers mean for recycling…

Did you know that not all plastics can go in your outside recycle bin?

All rigid plastics labelled 1-6 can be recycled. A quick way to be able to tell if a plastic can be recycled is:

– holds its shape when crumpled and/or

– would hold liquid

Types of plastics that cannot be recycled are:

  • lightweight polystyrene, such as used for meat trays
  • Packaging, including foam packing ‘peanuts’
  • hot drink cups

Ok, so what do the actual symbols on plastic containers mean?

Have you ever wondered what the symbols on plastic containers mean? We see them all the time and we know they are there to tell us something, but what?! To find out visit: https://livingcleannow.com.au/symbols-on-plastic-containers-meanSymbol 1 PET or PETE (polyethylene Terephthalate)

 

Recyclable – Yes

Usually found as – Soda bottles, water bottles, detergent bottles, salad dressing bottles

Recycled into – Tote bags, furniture, carpet

Generally considered safe as it does not leach however it has been known to allow bacteria to accumulate.

 

Have you ever wondered what the symbols on plastic containers mean? We see them all the time and we know they are there to tell us something, but what?! To find out visit: https://livingcleannow.com.au/symbols-on-plastic-containers-meanSymbol 2 HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)

 

Recyclable – Yes

Usually found as – Milk and cream bottles, shampoo bottles, cleaning product bottles

Recycled into – Pens, picnic tables, detergent bottles, drainage pipe

Carries a low risk of leaching and is one of the 3 plastics to be considered safe.

 

Have you ever wondered what the symbols on plastic containers mean? We see them all the time and we know they are there to tell us something, but what?! To find out visit: https://livingcleannow.com.au/symbols-on-plastic-containers-meanSymbol 3 V (Vinyl) or PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

 

Recyclable – Yes

Usually found as – Juice bottles, laundry detergent bottles, clear food packaging

Recycled into – Decks, panelling and speed bumps

Toxic when heated. Contain DEHA which has been linked to loss of bone mass and liver problems.

 

Have you ever wondered what the symbols on plastic containers mean? We see them all the time and we know they are there to tell us something, but what?! To find out visit: https://livingcleannow.com.au/symbols-on-plastic-containers-meanSymbol 4 LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene)

 

Recyclable – Yes

Usually found as – Squeezable bottles, shopping bags, clothing and bread bags

Recycled into – Compost bins, floor tiles and shipping envelopes

LDPE is safe.

 

Have you ever wondered what the symbols on plastic containers mean? We see them all the time and we know they are there to tell us something, but what?! To find out visit: https://livingcleannow.com.au/symbols-on-plastic-containers-meanSymbol 5 PP (Polypropylene)

 

Recyclable – Yes

Usually found as – Ice cream containers, bottle caps and ketchup, syrup and medicine containers.

Recycled into – Battery cases, bike racks and brooms

This is another safe plastic.

 

Have you ever wondered what the symbols on plastic containers mean? We see them all the time and we know they are there to tell us something, but what?! To find out visit: https://livingcleannow.com.au/symbols-on-plastic-containers-meanSymbol 6 PS (Polystyrene)

 

Recyclable – Yes

Usually found as – Yoghurt and butter containers, CD cases, disposable plates and cups

Recycled into – Egg cartons, vents and foam packaging

Known to be bad for the environment. Leaches toxins when heated.

 

Have you ever wondered what the symbols on plastic containers mean? We see them all the time and we know they are there to tell us something, but what?! To find out visit: https://livingcleannow.com.au/symbols-on-plastic-containers-meanSymbol 7 Other

 

Recyclable – No

Usually found as – Sunglasses, iPod cases and computer cases

Any other plastic that doesn’t fit into any of the above categories falls under 7. Can include acrylic and nylon.

Symbol 7 can also include Polycarbonate which contains the toxic bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA is a known hormone disruptor which has been linked to infertility, hyperactivity, reproductive problems, and other health issues.

 

Have you ever wondered what the symbols on plastic containers mean? We see them all the time and we know they are there to tell us something, but what?! To find out visit: https://livingcleannow.com.au/symbols-on-plastic-containers-meanEPS (Expanded Polystyrene)

 

 

Recyclable – No

Usually found as – Packaging, hot drink cups, packaging foam “peanuts”

EPS is considered safe.

 

In conclusion…

Most plastics can be recycled but keep an eye out for number 7 and EPS.

If you can, try to avoid plastic where possible. Here are some ideas:

 

For some other great plastic alternatives check out Biome and Nourished Life

Got any other great tips or ideas for avoiding plastic? I would love to hear them, please share below!

2 comments on “What do the symbols on plastic containers actually mean?”

  1. Oh thank you for this helpful guide! I want to go check some of my plastic containers now and see what number they have on them! 🙂

    Hope you are having a great start to the week and all your Christmas preparation is going well! I’m hoping to wrap some more presents today!

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • Yes, once you learn about this you do find yourself checking all your plastic containers!

      Christmas preparations are going well, I’m nearly all ready. Baby number 3 is coming end of next week so had to be organised early this year. Hope your going well. xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *