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Trash Picking

What does the fuzzy triangle mean

Understanding the symbol

Knowing what you are buying is a consumer right . And it is an equal responsibility to be aware of the packaging we are buying as we are of the contents. Just as we scan through the ingredients and expiry date of a cosmetic or food product we buy, there is one little symbol that talks quite a similar thing about the packaging. That is the recycle symbol, often found as a recycle triangle with a number at the center. The number talks about the kind of plastic used in making that material and hence a bit of knowledge about that particular material can help us a lot.

Single use Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
If the symbol has number"1" embossed at the center than the plastic is Polyethylene Terephthalate. Its a single use plastic and hence if you are planning to reuse a PET bottle then don't, its a health hazard.PET is known to leach trioxide and phthalates with antimony all of which have serious health implications. PET is frantically endorsed for its recyclability, but that is where the problem with PET generates. Pet bottles are recycled into polyester, a process that mothers indefinite amounts of microplastics and continues to do so till every fragment has withered into the atmosphere. Surprisingly, the "eco" label on the present day garments is not for their natural origin but a marketing gimmick to sell sell recycled plastic products for a planet concern. Recycled polyester just delays the fate of plastic doesn't skims is out of the ocean forever.

Strength for High density polyethylene(HDPE) and Low density polyethylene(LDPE)
HDPE has number 2 embossed between the symbo and LDPE has number 4 .HDPE is sturdy and commonly used in jugs for milk or laundry detergent and bleach bottles. Its toughness makes it difficult to tear and helps it resist bursting. Recycled HDPE plastic is used to make many products such as toys, soda bottles, trash cans, traffic cones and plastic “lumber” for decks and outdoor furniture. LDPE has slightly lower density but lags much more strength. This category holds your shampoos, household cleaning and grooming supplies and should be specifically saved for recycling.

Piping with polyvinyl chloride(PVC)

Polypropylene Polystyrene and Others.
Numbered as 5, 6 &7 respectively, of these Polypropylene has been a lot endorsed for its stability at higher temperatures. All the Tupperware range you have is virgin polypropylene. Polystyrene is basically plastic foam that makes up those coffee tumblers and takeaway containers. It is strictly not recyclable and highly toxic. Number 7 is for the everything else. So, for this category you again need to know what material it is as it is a messed up mixed bag of BPA, lexan, bioplastics etc.

For now this article gives a sneak peek into the mysterious bag of a gross term called "plastics". The more we research and study plastics the more we understand that once manufactured, there is no looking back in the world of plastic. Once manufactured, the plastic will definitely end up poisoning the ecological goodness and well being. In fact, if we try, plastics can be eliminated largely from our lives. It is just a matter of fact that we fall for plastics due to marketing gimmicks or for the little convenience they provide for a very short period of time. Drop your suggestion in the comments below.

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