Plastic bottles, jars and other packaging are everywhere in daily life—food products, personal care and hygiene, cosmetics and more. Consumers often don’t dwell on them, using and then throwing them away without a second thought. However, plastics have some significant differences, and the container used for a product matters more than one might think, especially for the environment and the user’s health. Consider these aspects when ordering from plastic bottle packaging suppliers for your business.
Recyclable or Not?
Sustainability remains a major topic for many, and part of this falls on businesses and their products being recyclable, reusable and/or biodegradable. Not all plastics fit the bill, though. The common plastics in everyday life fall into one of seven categories, four of which can be feasibly recycled:
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or polyester), high- and low-density polyethylene (HDPE/LDPE) and polypropylene (PP) are recyclable to varying degrees, though curbside programs may not accept LDPE. These are numbered 1, 2, 4 and 5 on containers.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), and all plastics classified as “other” are not recyclable. These are numbered 3, 6 and 7.
Broadly, the recyclables are all thermoplastics, which can be reheated and remolded, while thermosetting plastics harden irreversibly after cooling.
Plastics are far from immutable, and some types frequently give off chemical byproducts as they degrade. The most significant of these chemicals are phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). These additives exist in polyester and PVC, respectively, and are used to give the plastics their desired mechanical traits. However, they don’t always stay put—they can leach into foods or liquids, usually when heated up. In the body, they disrupt the endocrine system in cases of high exposure, chiefly affecting reproductive health.
Consumers must be aware of the plastics they use and what to do with them, and the recycling codes used help people stay informed. However, it’s also up to businesses to responsibly choose safe, appropriate plastic packaging for their products.