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Navigating Triangle Codes in Plastics Part1

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

I mentioned in a previous video that not all plastics are necessarily bad. One of the best ways to make a quick judgment on consumer plastics is by finding that triangle code. It’s called a resin identification code or RIC.

Most people think of these as recycle codes. Actually, it has nothing to do with its recyclability, although some cities and counties use it for that. To the plastics industry it simply identifies the resin, or core ingredient of the plastic item that bears the image. In fact, to try and disassociate it from the recycling industry, a couple of years ago, the plastics people revised it to look less like the well-known recycle symbol.

It’s now a solid triangle with no chasing arrows, but with the abbreviated name of the resin below it:

​There are only 7 codes in use in the US. Other countries may have more, so you should get to know what the codes are in your country. Let’s take a look at each of these codes because they’ll really help you make healthy decisions about whether you want them in contact with your body, your food, your water, or the air you breathe in restricted spaces. Remember, my evaluation of them is within the contours of biology. When I say don’t use, I’m not saying that type of plastic

should never be used for anything. I’ll post a summary page of the codes in the video notes in my bio for you to refer to. I’ll also indicate recyclability of the various codes, but that only means it CAN be recycled, not that your local community is equipped and willing to recycle it.



This is polyethylene terephthalate. Common uses are water and beverage bottles, heatable pre-

prepared food containers, hinged bakery containers, most of those clamshell supermarket

containers, clear cups, and food service lids. It’s even in clothing fibers and carpet. We avoid

phthalates. Full stop. But it’s recyclable, so maybe it can become something more useful in its

next life. So, no on #1. Shun one!


PMID: 30343762 Recyclability of four types of plastics exposed to UV irradiation in a marine environment

PMID: 34488348 Plastic Products Leach Chemicals That Induce In Vitro Toxicity under Realistic Use Conditions

PMID: 21367689 Most plastic products release estrogenic chemicals: a potential health problem that can be solved.

Resin Identification Code Authority Accessed 11/29/22 Polyethylene terephthalate PMID: 21050888 Endocrine disruptors in bottled mineral water: estrogenic activity in the E-Screen. PMID: 34771326 Identification of Potential Migrants in Polyethylene Terephthalate Samples of Ecuadorian Market Phthalates in general PMID: 22832070 Phthalate excretion pattern and testicular function: a study of 881 healthy Danish men. PMID: 15951666 Phthalate metabolites and biomarkers of reproductive function in young men.


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