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Navigating Triangle Codes in Plastics Part 2

Part 2 of 5

Let’s take a look at each of these codes, because they’ll really help you make healthy decisions about whether you want these things in contact with your body, your food, your water. So now remember, my evaluation of them is within the contours of biology.

So number one, PETE or PET. This is polyethylene terephthalate. Common uses are water and beverage bottles, those heatable pre-prepared food containers like you get from a hot deli, hinged bakery containers, most of the clamshell supermarket containers, clear cups, food service lids, even in clothing fibers and carpet. We avoid phthalates, full stop, but it’s recyclable so maybe it can become something useful in the next life. So no on one, shun one.

Number two, HDPE. This is high density polyethylene. Common uses are water bottles, toys, bottles for laundry detergent, shampoo, things like that because it’s strong, household cleaning products. It’s a film, cereal box liners and grocery bags, and outdoor piping systems. Less likely to leach because of a more dense polymer structure, but still leaches chemicals a little, so not bad. Not so bad. Okay to use if you have to and it’s recyclable. Two you can do.

Number three, PVC. This is polyvinyl chloride. Common uses, shrink wraps, indoor plumbing, shower curtains, juice bottles, cooking oil, synthetic leather. So the stuff that weeps off synthetic leather, yeah. Blood bags and medical tubing, yikes. Phthalates are often added to PVC so it can leach out and when it’s heated it can off gas nasty hydrochloric acid, which is a lung and mucous membrane irritant.