What do the Numbers Inside Triangles on Plastic Bottles Mean?

Posted: March 23, 2015 in Articles
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We’re sure most everyone has noticed the little triangles on all plastic bottles and containers of various types, and you’ve probably also noticed that they have numbers in them. We haven’t really paid too much attention to them, but today we saw an article that explains what the various numbers inside those triangles mean.

Basically, they tell what the plastic is made out of or contains, and using the numbers you can tell which bottles you might want to stay away from. The numbers are 1 through 7, and certain numbers are better than others. This is the list:

1 in a triangle means the plastic contains: PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate). That’s not good!

The number 2 means the plastic contains: HDPE (High Density Polyethylene). That is good.

3 means: PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). Not good.

4: LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene). Good.

5: PP (Polypropylene). Good.

6: PS (Polystyrene/styrofoam). Not good.

The number 7 is just a category for all other materials, and is to be avoided.

Anyway, after we read the article, we hurriedly collected a whole bunch of bottles in our home and checked the numbers on the bottom. To our dismay, we saw that the vast majority of triangles had the number “1” in them. A few had various other numbers, though, such as 2, 5, and 7. For the most part, though, the bottles we had were made of bad materials.

It’s definitely something to think about. I suppose, if possible, get other brands that use good plastics, but I think it would be impossible to get safe plastic containers with everything you buy. I’m just guessing that the number 1 material is cheap to make, which is why so many people use it.

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