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A World Of Plastic-The Triangle

We are all programed pretty well to look for the triangle on plastic containers. We finish up with a beverage and see if it goes in the recycle bin or the trash. We empty out a premade meal and see if it hits the curb in the blue or green bin. Should I rinse it out? Should I take the lid off? And what do I do with ‘those’ containers? Or does the packaging from ‘that thing’ go in there? What do they all mean and what do I do with it now?

We know there are different kinds. They are numbered one through seven. They have names that make them sound mysterious and complicated; Polyethylene Terephthalate, Polyvinyl Chloride and Polystyrene. And to be hip they go by PET or PETE, PVC and PS. They also get into clicks and call themselves The Tough and Shatterproofs, The Vinyls and The Transparents. They are all way too cool for me. 

The other thing that is coming out in the rumor mill about these different numbered triangles is that they may be unsafe. Words like leach, toxic and risk are all over the medical blogs and news. There are all sorts of new guild lines being put into place. Do not reuse that water bottle. And do not leave it in your hot car. Do not store food in this kind. Do not put plastic in a microwave. Do not let your child chew on that toy! These are really scary warnings. It sounds to me like they are saying “Do not ingests the stuff we are packing your food in or making your stuff with.”

Over the next few weeks I plan to find out what all these numbers mean. Why are number one and two so acceptable? Why are number five and seven being shunned at the recycling center? Which ones are better for storing food? Which are safe for my children? Which ones are doing great things and which ones are messing us up. Hope you join me for my journey through the triangle.

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