What they mean.
By Arun Kumar Bharati
Here’s the significance of each number that is present on the bottom of plastic bottles:
_ If the number is ‘I’ inside the triangle it means that the plastic is made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Generally, these are used to make bottles for soft drinks, water, juice, sports drinks, etc. It is safe for one-time use and these bottles should never be heated. This kind of plastic degenerates itself over a period of time. It is not safe to use it after the expiry date so they carry the message, “Crush the bottle after use.”
_ If the triangle has the number ‘2’ in it then the plastic is made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE).
This plastic is commonly used for shampoo, detergent containers and grocery bags.
_ If the triangle has the number ‘3’ in it, then the plastic is made of polyvinyl chloride.
These types of plastic bottles contain carcinogens and are used for peanut butter jars, plastic toys, tablecloths, etc.
_ The plastic bottles that have the number ‘4’ are made up of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and are reusable all the time.
This type of plastic is used to make shopping bags, newspapers, hot and cold beverage cups, etc.
_ If the triangle has the number ‘5’ then it is made of polypropylene (PP). It is the safest of all the plastics.
Commonly used for ice-cream cups, drinking straws, and take-away food.
_ Plastic bottles with number ‘6’ are made of polystyrene (PS) and are considered very harmful. They are used for plastic spoons, bowls, plastic forks, etc.
_ Plastics with the number ‘7’ inside the triangle are letnal when used for long. They are made up of polycarbonate bisphenol A (PBA).
They are hormone disruptors and continuous usage may lead to cancer and heart attack. Tupperware products are made up of this plastic and can be harmful on long usage. So, it is better to change your tiffin boxes constantly.
Apart from the above seven you might come across a wine glass and a fork symbol also. This symbol is an international sign for ‘party safe’ material.