A Summary Of Plastics (for food&drinking packaging): What They Mean To Our Health?

A summary of plastics (for food&drinking packaging): what they mean to our health?

Plastics may be the most polarizing material of modern times. It provides a series of incredible benefits that help us every day. Plastic are also used in many types of food & drinking packaging. They help protecting foods from damages. But do you know detailed about the difference of plastics? What do they mean to our health?

● What are the different types of plastics used in food & drinking packaging?

You may have seen the number 1 through 7 on the bottom or side of a plastic packaging container. This number is the plastic “resin identification code,” also known as the “recycling number.” This number can also provide guidance for consumers who want to recycle plastic containers.

●?What does the number on plastic mean?

The Resin Identification Code or recycling number on plastic identifies the type of plastic. Here we`d like to share more information about the most common plastics used in food & drinking packaging, available at the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) and Plastics Industry Association (PIA):

PETE or PET (Recycling number 1 / Resin ID Code 1

new(2) What is it:
Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE or PET) is a lightweight plastic that is made to be semi-rigid or rigid which makesit more impact resistant, and helps protect food or liquids inside the packaging.
Beverage bottles, Food bottles/jars (salad dressing, peanut butter, honey, etc.) and polyester clothing or rope.
Advantages: Disadvantages:
●?wide applications as a fiber ●?extremely effective moisture barrier


● This plastic is relatively safe, but it is important to keep it out of the heat or it could cause carcinogens (like the flame retardant antimony trioxide) to leach into your liquids.

HDPE (Recycling number 2 / Resin ID Code 2)

?new(3) What is it:
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a hard, opaque plastic that is lightweight but also strong. For example, a HDPE milk jug container can weigh only two ounces but still be strong enough to carry a gallon of milk.
Milk cartons, detergent bottles, cereal box liners, toys, buckets, park benches and rigid pipes.?
Advantages: Disadvantages:
●?Considered safe and has low risk of leaching. ● Usually opaque in color

PVC (Recycling number 3 / Resin ID Code 3)

?new(4) What is it:
The element chlorine is the primary ingredient used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a common type of plastic that is biologically and chemically resistant. These two characteristics help PVC containers maintain the integrity of the products inside, including medicines.
Plumbing pipes, credit cards, human and pet toys, rain gutters, teething rings, IV fluid bags and medical tubing and oxygen masks.
Advantages: Disadvantages:
●?Rigid (although different PVC variants are actually designed to be flexible)●Strong;●Biologically and chemically resistant; ● PVC contains softening chemicals called phthalates that interfere with hormonal development;●Can not be used for cooking or heating;

LDPE (Recycling number 4 / Resin ID Code 4)

?new(5) What is it:
Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is thinner than some other resins and also has high heat resilience. Due to its toughness and flexibility, LDPE is primarily used in film applications where heat sealing is needed.
Plastic/cling wrap, sandwich and bread bags, bubble wrap, garbage bags, grocery bags and beverage cups.
Advantages: Disadvantages:
●?High ductility;● Corrosion resistant; ● Low tensile strength;●It`s not recyclable by common programs;

PP (Recycling number 5 / Resin ID Code 5)

?new(7) What is it:
Polypropylene (PP) is somewhat stiff but less brittle than some other plastics. It can be made translucent, opaque or a different color when it is manufactured. PP generally has a high melting point, making it particularly suitable for food packaging products that are used in microwaves or cleaned in dishwashers.
Straws, bottle caps, prescription bottles, hot food containers, packaging tape, disposable diapers and DVD/CD boxes.
Advantages: Disadvantages:
●?unique use for living hinges;● Heat resistant; ● It`s considered microwave-safe, but we still suggest glass as the best material for microwave containers ;

PS (Recycling number 6 / Resin ID Code 6)

?new(6) What is it:
Polystyrene (PS) is a colorless, hard plastic without much flexibility. It can be made into foam or cast into molds and given fine detail in its shape when it is manufactured, for instance into the shape of plastic spoons or forks.
Cups, takeout food containers, shipping and product packaging, egg cartons, cutlery and building insulation.
Advantages: Disadvantages:
●?Foam Applications; ● Leaching potentially toxic chemicals ,especially when heated;● It takes hundreds and hundreds of years to decompose.

Other or O (Recycling number 7 / Resin ID Code 7)

?new(10) What is it:
“Other” or a #7 symbol on plastic packaging indicates that the packaging is made with a plastic resin other than the six types of resins listed above, for example the packaging could be made with polycarbonate or the bioplastic polylactide (PLA) for example, or it could be made with more than one plastic resin material.
Eyeglasses, baby and sports bottles, electronics, lighting fixtures and clear plastic cutlery.
Advantages: Disadvantages:
●?New materials give new views about our lives, such as Tritan material is widely used for hydration bottles; ● The use of plastic in this category is at your own risk since you don't know what could be in it.

These are most common types of plastic that we encounter. This is obviously very basic information on a topic that one could spend months on researching. Plastic is a complex material, just as its production, distribution and consumption are. We encourage you to dive in deeper in order to understand all these complexities, such as plastic properties, recyclability, health hazards and alternatives, including the pros and cons of bioplastics.

Post time: Nov-12-2021
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