Many of our patients at New Hope Unlimited have asked me, “What does the number system on plastic bottles mean?” To be honest, I wasn’t sure. I knew plastic bottles for the most part were not good for us and the environment. I knew they were even worse for us especially if they were heated, but I couldn’t answer their questions. So, I decided to go on a “bottle number system” hunt.
The bottom of your plastic bottles or plastic containers all have a number on them. The numbers from 1 to 8 can tell us if the plastic is recyclable or not, or just how dangerous they are to our health.
There’s a recycle symbol with a number on it. Usually a number 1 means you are drinking some water or a soda. They say that these bottles are safe to reuse, however they can breed bacteria so be careful. By the way, you may need a magnifier to see the number.
If your bottles have a number 2 on the bottom, this means these bottles are able to be reused as they are less likely to leech out plastic. These type bottles are usually juice bottles or milk jugs.
A bottle with number 3 on it is not usually accepted as a recyclable item. These bottles or plastics contain DEHA which is a toxic material. These bottles are usually soap bottles like dish detergent or cleaners, old cables and wire bottles, and clear oil bottles like baby oil bottles.
A number 4 is said to be the safest plastic. It is believed that these bottles can be used multiple times without breaking down and leaching into your liquids or skin. This type of plastic is usually found in plastic bags, sandwich wraps, and dry-cleaning bags.
A bottle with number 5 on it is used for medicine containers, food containers like ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard bottles, and straws. These bottles and plastics are believed to be totally safe to reuse.
The number 6 bottle is usually found in take away containers, disposable plates, and egg containers. These plastics are known to not be safe to reuse. These are the ones you definitely do not want to re-heat anything in.
A number 7 is usually found on larger water bottles and even some baby bottles. Number 7 should never be re-used. They contain BPA which can lead to infertility and other health issues. Be careful not to re-heat the baby formula in these bottles.
I hope this helps you to understand the numbers. As I have always said, I learn something new all the time. Isn’t it fun to learn and learning certain things can help keep us healthy.
-Dr Fredda Branyon