Plastics and Food

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Bill Walker, Vice President of the West Coast branch of the Environmental Working Group, a think-tank devoted to protecting the environment and public health, cautions that plastics can be unsafe when used in conjunction with food storage and preparation.  His concern is especially timely since plastics are increasingly used closer than ever to our food supply. Referring to Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Smart Plastics Guide, Bill outlines what those recycling numbers on plastics mean--and which ones to avoid.  The guide below details the different kinds of plastics (including numbers 3, 6 and 7, which should be avoided with food use):

#1 PETE (PolyEthylene Terephthalate Ethylene): used for soft drink, juice, water, detergent, cleaner and peanut butter containers

#2 HDPE (High Density PolyEthylene): used in opaque plastic milk and water jugs, bleach, detergent and shampoo bottles and some plastic bags

#3 PVC or V (PolyVinyl Chloride): used for cling wrap, some plastic squeeze bottles, cooking oil and peanut butter jars, detergent and window cleaner bottles

#4 LDPE (Low Density PolyEthylene): used in grocery store bags, most plastic wraps and some bottles

#5 PP (PolyPropylene): used in most Rubbermaid, deli soup, syrup and yogurt containers, straws and other clouded plastic containers, including baby bottles

#6 PS (PolyStyrene): used in Styrofoam food trays, egg cartons, disposable cups and bowls, carry- out containers and opaque plastic cutlery

#7 Other: Usually polycarbonate, used in most plastic baby bottles, 5-gallon water bottles, "sport" water bottles, metal food-can liners, clear plastic "sippy" cups and some clear plastic cutlery. New bio-based plastics may also be labeled #7

Reprinted from the Smart Plastics Guide from (IATP).

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