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  • Learn what the recycle number on plastics have to

Plastic Not So Fantastic


Studies have shown plastic can leach chemicals that impact our health including toxicity, disrupting hormones and . Use the numbers in the recycle symbol on plastics to know the type of plastic used and the health impacts.

When possible it is best to avoid #7 plastics, especially for children’s food. Plastics with the recycling labels #1, #2 and #4 on the bottom are safer choices and do not contain BPA.

Number 1 = PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate)

Found in: Soft drink, water and beer bottles; mouthwash bottles; peanut butter containers; salad dressing and vegetable oil containers; ovenable food trays.

PET plastic is the most common for single-use bottled beverages, because it is inexpensive, lightweight and easy to recycle. It poses low risk of leaching breakdown products.

Number 2 Plastics =HDPE (high density polyethylene)

Found in: Milk jugs, juice bottles; bleach, detergent and household cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; some trash and shopping bags; motor oil bottles; butter and yogurt tubs; and cereal box liners

HDPE plastic carries a low risk of leaching.

Number 3 Plastics = V (Vinyl) or PVC

Found in: Cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging

Number 3 plastics may release toxic breakdown products (including pthalates) into food and drinks.

The risk is highest when containers start wearing out, are put through the dishwasher or when they are heated (including microwaved).

PVC is considered the MOST dangerous plastic and should be AVOIDED

Number 4 = Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Found in: plastic wraps, squeeze bottles, food packaging

LDPE is considered a SAFER plastic than #1,3,6,7

Number 5 = Polypropylene (PP)

Found in: opaque plastic food storage containers, baby bottles, sippy cups, straws, sports tops on water bottles

Verdict: considered a SAFER plastic than #1,3,6,7

Number 6 Plastics = PS (polystyrene)

Found in: Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers and Styrofoam-style cups.

These plastics can release potentially toxic breakdown products including styrene which is an endocrine disruptor and are released particularly when heated and should be AVOIDED

Number 7 = Can be Polycarbonate (PC) or Bio Based Plastics or (AS) (ABS) (SAN) or Tritan

Found in: Polycarbonate can be found in clear plastic baby bottles, sippy cups and water bottles; 5 gallon water containers.

Polycarbonate leaches Bisphenol A (BPA), a dangerous plastic linked to endocrine disruption and serious health conditions. This plastic should be AVOIDED.

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