Natural Society

The Numbers on Plastic Bottles: What do Plastic Recycling Symbols Mean?

Have you ever wondered what the numbers, or recycling symbols mean at the bottom of plastic bottles and containers? Did you know that, while the use of all plastics should be limited if at all possible, some are safer than others? It’s time to learn a little bit about the various plastics you use and drink/eat from every single day, and what impact they have not only on you, but also the environment.

Every plastic container or bottle has a recycling symbol. The symbol is a number, ranging from 1 to 7, within a triangle. While you may think nothing of these symbols, they can actually offer a great deal of information regarding the toxic chemicals used in the plastic, how likely the plastic is to leach, how bio-degradable the plastic is, and ultimately the safety of the plastic.

Here is some information on the various recycling symbols and numbers:

The Recycling Symbols

Plastic #1 – PETE or PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

Plastic #2 – HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)

Plastic #3 – V or PVC (Vinyl)

Plastic #4 – LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene)

Plastic #5 – PP (Polypropylene)

Plastic #6 – PS (Polystyrene)

Plastic #7 – Other, Miscellaneous

The Bottom Line: Which Recycling Numbers to Avoid, Which are ‘Safest’

In the end, it’s really best to avoid using all plastics if you’re able. But at the very least:

In the end, plastics will still be used, but you can certainly limit your use of the product. Instead of buying plastic water bottles or other plastic containers, choose glass or invest in a high quality water filtration system to obtain your water from. (This is best for your health anyway).

Additional Sources:

The Daily Green