Plastic (5/21)

We use a lot of plastic in our lives. There are different categories for different plastics. The numbers on the plastic are the recycling numbers. However, not all plastics are recyclable, and not all plastics are safe for eating and drinking.

There is a lot of plastic with a #5 stamped on it in my bin. This type of plastic is polypropylene (PP). It can come in contact with food, it can be opaque or translucent, and it can be colored. It is stiff but not as brittle as some other plastics. It is heat resistant and tough, yet lightweight. These characteristics make PP a good choice for many different types of containers, such as yogurt and sour cream containers.

Polypropylene is considered to be safe for reuse. Although few people recycle it, it is becoming more accepted by recyclers today. When it is recycled, it is used to make landscaping border stripping, battery cases, brooms, bins, and trays.

Some plastics in the #7 plastic category can’t be recycled. While most plastics are recyclable, some of the recyclable plastics are not good for the environment, like styrofoam. The chemicals in styrofoam can contaminate food and drinks, and it also leaches into the environment. It is best to avoid these harmful plastics and use something reusable and more environmental-friendly, such as using a metal water bottle instead of a plastic one.

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