Plastics Codes

See my  Bottle, Bottles, Everywhere post for more info on navigating the world of plastic.


#1 (PET or PETE) plastic

Used for bottled water bottles, which are generally regarded as safe when stored correctly and consume in a timely fashion. They have been shown to leach antimony into the water in a couple of studies, but at levels considered safe by the EPA. The most immediate risk from reuse is from bacterial contamination (The bottles’ narrow necks make them hard to clean).


#2 (HDPE), #4 (LDPE) and #5 (polypropylene) plastics

Generally regarded as safe.


#3 (PVC) and #6 (styrene) plastics

Pose health risks and should be avoided (they are not ordinarily used for water bottles but are used for other food and beverage containers).


#7 plastic

Usually polycarbonate and contains BPA. If you are in love with a particular #7 bottle, you could call the manufacturer to identify the plastic, but that might not make matters clearer (#7 is a bit of a mystery number).


See the Eco-Label Decoder for a lot more codes explained.

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