Plastic has become an integral part of modern life, and it’s hard to imagine a world without it. It’s used in everything from packaging and household items to cars and airplanes. However, the use of plastic has also raised concerns about its safety, particularly when it comes to the potential health hazards associated with certain types of plastics. In this article, we will explore what safe plastic is and what you need to know about it.
What is Safe Plastic?
Safe plastic refers to types of plastic that are considered safe for human use and do not pose a significant risk to health. There are several factors that determine the safety of plastic, including the type of plastic, its intended use, and whether it contains harmful chemicals. Plastic is typically identified by a number, which is surrounded by the recycling symbol. This number is known as the resin identification code and indicates the type of plastic used to make the item. There are seven types of plastic, and each has its own characteristics and potential risks.
Types of Safe Plastic
There are several types of plastic that are considered safe. These include:
This is the most commonly used plastic in the world and is considered safe for food and beverage packaging.
This plastic is often used for food containers and is considered safe.
This plastic is commonly used for water bottles and is considered safe.
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
This plastic is commonly used for milk jugs and other food containers and is considered safe.
This plastic is commonly used for water bottles and food containers, but there are concerns about its safety due to the potential release of bisphenol A (BPA) during use.
How to Identify Safe Plastic
It’s important to know how to identify safe plastic to ensure that you are using products that are safe for you and your family.
Check the Recycling Symbol
The recycling symbol on a plastic product can help you identify what type of plastic it is. Look for products with the recycling symbols 1, 2, 4, or 5, as these are considered safe.
Look for BPA-Free Labels
If you are concerned about bisphenol A (BPA), look for products that are labelled as “BPA-free.”
Avoid Using Plastic with the Number 7
The recycling symbol with the number 7 is a catch-all for plastic products that do not fit into any other category. Many of these products may contain harmful chemicals, so it’s best to avoid them.
Here are some tips for using safe plastic
- Choose plastic containers with resin codes 1, 2, 4, or 5 for food and drink storage.
- Avoid heating plastic containers in the microwave, as this can cause chemicals to leach into food.
- Do not reuse single-use plastic containers, as they are not designed for repeated use.
- Use glass or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids, as these are safer options.
- Look for BPA-free plastic containers, especially for baby bottles and sippy cups.
It’s also important to dispose of plastic properly. Many types of plastic are recyclable, and recycling helps to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills or the ocean. However, not all types of plastic are recyclable, so it’s important to check local recycling guidelines to see which types of plastic can be recycled in your area.
Keeping Safe With Plastic: Wrap Up
Safe plastic is an important consideration for anyone who wants to minimise their exposure to harmful chemicals and reduce their impact on the environment. By looking for products that are labelled as BPA-free, phthalate-free, and PVC-free, avoiding heating plastic containers, and disposing of plastic properly, you can help to ensure that the plastic in your life is safe and environmentally friendly. While plastic is a convenient and useful material, it is important to choose safe plastic to avoid potential health risks. By understanding the different types of plastic and their potential risks, you can make informed decisions about the products you use. Remember to choose plastic containers with resin codes 1, 2, 4, or 5 for food and drink storage, and avoid heating plastic containers in the microwave. By taking these precautions, you can help ensure your safety and well-being.