Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Plastic Bottles by the Number

With all the rumors swirling out there, I thought I would take on the confusing issue of plastic

recycled plastic (PET) bottles #6620Image by Nemo's great uncle via Flickr

bottles. While I'm not promoting the use of plastic when we have other good alternatives (aluminum and glass), there are still many questions that need solid answers. Most surprising is that a lot of the misinformation is coming through email hoaxes.

* Does the reuse of plasic bottles promote bacteria growth?
No. Bacteria is no more likely to grow in a plastic bottle than another beverage container. Of course, they do need to be cleaned in between uses (hot soapy water) because drinking does introduce bacteria from your mouth into the bottle.

* Does the reuse of plastic bottles cause harmful chemicals to leach into the water?
No. Plasticsinfo.org has a detailed answer to this, but in short, the FDA has studied and found PET (the plastic used in most beverage containers) to be safe for single and repeated use.

* What if I freeze the bottle?
Everything above still applies. The concept that freezing the bottle changes its safety came from an email hoax. Snopes set me straight on this one.

* What do all those numbers on the bottom of the bottle mean?
It simply indicates the type of resin used to make the plastic. For a summary of what each one means, check out this summary from Earth911.

* What can I recycle?
That is dependent on your recycling company. Mine recycles plastic bottles, jugs, and round dairy tubs. If you want to recycle something not on their list, check out Earth911 for local recycling centers. In my area, my grocery store recycles the plastic bag and UPS recycles the packing peanuts.

Any questions???

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