Jun 9 2010

More Practicle Help with the 3 Rs!


So you’ve decided you’re going to recycle, great! But now you’re confused by the numbers on the bottom of plastic containers and bottles. Maybe you’re also unsure how you can reduce the amount of junk mail you receive (see end of blog post). Here are some quick answers to help you Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!


I found this guide on KidsKonserve.com and am sharing it with you. I think it’s interesting to know the what each number means, but in practicality I have to say, I recommend throwing all plastic “containers” in the recycling bin. Why? Because I don’t want to discourage people from recycling because they’re overwhelmed by the numbers. The recycling center can sort out what can’t be recycled. In my area, the key is just that the plastic has to be in the form of a container.

Bottles = container = yes recycle!         Toys = not a container = no.

For information on local guidelines in your area check out this LINK forEarth 911.



#1 – PET or PETE: polyethylene terephthalate is used in many beverage bottles. It’s easily recycled, and accepted by most curbside municipal programs and just about all plastic recycling centers.

#2 – HDPE: high-density polyethylene is used in milk jugs (another reason to buy from your local dairy farm – glass jars), detergent and shampoo bottles. It is accepted by most curbside municipal programs and recycling centers.

#3 – PVC: Vinyl or polyvinyl chloride is a bad, bad plastic. Soft PVC often contains and can leach toxic phthalates, and can also omit chemicals into the air. It’s used to make plastic soft. Like some cling wraps (I don’t use them anymore), many children’s toys, bottles. As if it’s not bad enough, PVC isn’t recyclable, either.

#4 – LDPE: low-density polyethylene is used most in plastic shopping bags, some cling wraps, some baby bottles and reusable drink & food containers. It is recyclable at most recycling centers (and many grocery stores take the shopping bags) but generally not in curbside programs.

#5 – PP: polypropylene can be found in some baby bottles, lots of yogurt and deli takeout containers, and many reusable food and drink containers (you know, the Tupperware- and Rubbermaid-types). It is recyclable in some curbside programs and most recycling centers.

#6 – PS: polystyrene is used in takeout food containers, egg containers, and some plastic cutlery, among other things. It has been found to leach styrene–a neurotoxin and possible human carcinogen–and has been banned in cities like Portland, Ore. and San Francisco. Still, it persists and is not often recyclable in curbside programs, though some recycling centers will take it.

#7 – Everything else, and this is where the waters get a bit murky. First, and perhaps most notably, #7 includes PC, or polycarbonate, which has been making headlines lately because it has been found to leach bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone disruptor that mimics estrogen.

But that’s just the tip of the #7 iceberg; though you’re less likely to see them in the grocery store than some of the others, the burgeoning crop of bioplastics (made from plant-based material rather than the usual petroleum base for plastic) also falls under this umbrella, for now, at least. Most common of these is PLA, or polyactide, which is most commonly made with corn, these days. It isn’t easily recycled, though it can be composted in industrial composting operations–your kitchen composter most likely doesn’t create enough heat to help it break down.

Recycling is great, but not using it in the first place is even better!

Click on this LINK to stop receiving the Yellow Pages. Phonebooks make about 660,000 tons of trash every year!  Don’t we all just look online and call 411 anyway?


How about opting out of junk mail? Click HERE! Or you can call at 1-888-567-8688 (888-5-OPT-OUT) from your home telephone .

Or, Email your removal request to Abacus Direct at optout@abacus-us.com

Get off Val-Pak’s list by filing out the form athttp://www.coxtarget.com/mailsuppression/s/DisplayMailSuppressionForm

DoNotMail.com notes, “Catalogs may stop coming when your other removal requests are processed, but you can always call the catalog company.” “Stop getting junk mail” [DoNotMail.org]


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