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Navigating Triangle Codes in Plastics Part 3

I know there’s a lot of information coming very quickly in this video. Let me know if it’s too much too fast. Rewatch it if you need to or catch the unabridged version that will be posted to YouTube after all 5 segments are released.

Part 3 of 5

Navigating Triangle Codes in Plastics

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. And it’s one of only two codes that are not recyclable. So I’d say three is not for me.

Number four, LDPE, low-density polyethylene. Most cling wraps you’d use in the kitchen now use this rather than PVC, and it’s better. It’s used for plastic bags like dry cleaning bags, produce bags, bread bags, squeezable bottles like mustard and mayo, some indoor plumbing, and most bubble wrap. This one doesn’t handle heat well. It melts at about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. I would think that and its low density explain why it can still leach chemicals, but it’s better than most of the others. So low-density polyethylene, better. And this is the second code that is not recyclable. I’d give it just an okay status. Use when you can’t find a better alternative. Four, you can explore.

Number five, PP. This is polypropylene. If you have to use a plastic, this is the one to use. It’s in all kinds of toys, furniture, car parts, carpets, rugs, upholstery. They even make tableware and reusable kitchen containers. It’s lightweight, flexible, fairly strong, heat-resistant, up to about 320 degrees. Doesn’t leach chemicals unless phthalate is added, but it generally isn’t. So number five’s a qualified go.