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Which Plastics Are Safe?

Learn which plastics are safe in this Howcast video featuring Alegre of Green and Greener.


Hi. Allegra from Ember Living here today to answer a question that I get asked all the time: What plastics are safe? Now that question might confuse you if you're not familiar with the rating system for plastic, but plastic is rated on a scale of one to seven, and you can find the rating for plastics usually on the bottom of the bottom or container. And the number you're looking for is the number that's inside the little triangle with arrows. So, this plastic bottle is a number two, which indicates the type of plastic it is.

It also has the letter HDPE, which is the acronym for the type of plastics that this is and the reason this is important the different types of plastic, one through seven, need to be recycled by themselves in order to create a product that is the same as this product. If you mix plastics together, it creates a weaker plastic so it's not as useful then. Now, a good rule of thumb when thinking about what plastics are more or less toxic is 12-45-stay alive; 3-6-7-straight-to-heaven.

So, the plastics that have the number 1,2,4, and 5 are generally safer 3, 6, and 7. Now, one thing I want to say is even though you have that little rule of thumb, I personally avoid plastic around my food and drink products always. I never store water in plastic bottles. I never put food into plastic containers because I just feel like there's just too much of an opportunity for the plastic to leech into the food or the drink and I just want to avoid that.

This is important because some chemicals in plastic such as BPA have been found to be highly carcinogenic, and BPA is found in most water bottles and in all canned food linings. So, if you buy canned food, the lining that keeps the food from interacting with the metal of the container has BPA in it and therefore it's leeching into your food.

There are a few companies that you'll see have BPA free linings, but buy in large, most of them have BPA in them, which is a chemical you really want to avoid. So, get in the rule of thumb, 12-45-stay alive; 3-6-7-straight-to-heaven, but in general avoid plastic around your food and your beverages if you're able to. Thanks.

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