Sure we have all seen those little triangles numbers on our plastic. Some of us may even have an understanding of what each one means. But, If you are anything like the ‘rest of us’ you will likely see a number in a triangle, shrug to yourself, assume its recyclable and put it in your recycling bin.
Those little numbers mean quite a lot in the big scheme of things. Sometimes councils don’t have the facilities to recycle all type of plastics, so understanding what those little numbers actually mean, and whether they will end up in landfill or recycling in your local area is part of being a mindful consumer.
First things first. What are these numbers? Check out the picture below (from Clean Up Australia) be sure to study it very closely we will have an exam on it later (bahaha, just kidding).
Now that we know what the numbers are and have a vague idea what they mean the most important thing we can do is check out what this means for our own recycling efforts. For me this means heading back to the council website and checking that what numbers are permitted in my area. Numbers 1-6 are ok to purchase but number seven is a no go! In my case I will be paying really close attention when purchasing beauty products as many of them (even the natural ones) use number 7 plastics for their fancy containers.
Voila! There you have it. A pretty simple way to get a basic education about recycling in your local area without too much effort (providing the council has this information easily accessible if not you may have to send some emails).
If you are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of this ‘plastic business’ I recommend setting some time aside for a ‘movie night’. While the documentary shown above, ‘Addicted to Plastic’, is showing its age (hello Sony Walkman) and the statistics will likely be well out of sync with todays figures, it is a great way to learn about the way plastics are made, disposed of, recycled and being rethought. I had personally started researching this topic and writing some information about the processes but if you are anything like me, seeing, and hearing is a much easier way to learn that reading. Besides popcorn goes much better with a movie than reading a boring webpage and any excuse to eat popcorn is alright by me! Better still popcorn is easy to buy packaging free in bulk food stores which equals guilt free snacking.
It was handy to have the ‘seven types’ of plastic guide nearby when watching the documentary to gain a clear and quick understanding of what types of items there were speaking about when referring to different plastic compositions. The discussion about BPA leaching from plastic type two instead of type one was of interest to me. Googling earlier I found an article from the Australian Cancer Council that stated that the claims about BPA leaching from plastic water bottles is a fallacy as most are made from PET, or type one plastic, and are therefore safe to reuse. While this is an interesting finding, I will personally stick to my glass water bottle just to be on the safe side.
On a fashion note, watching the documentary made me think of the wonderful ‘Nurdle in the Rough‘ that I ran a label love post on a little while back. Imagine if ‘Nurdle Ned’ had the honour of being featured in one of the beautiful Nurdle Rings instead of contributing to the demise of a seabird.
Hope that you are enjoying this waste exploration as much as I am. Planning to take my journey to the next level on Saturday as I tour my local waste facilities and find out how its all done in my local area.
As far as my personal waste journey goes today was coconut water and berry punnet heavy yet again. Still not surprised by my consumption and there is definitely room for improvement! I can do without the berries as they aren’t a necessity (just freaking delicious and go in EVERYTHING). The only realistic improvement I have made on my coconut water vice is discovering a local based company that imports for Thailand. So at least purchasing their product would support a local based business. If only I wasn’t a sweaty betty who is prone to heat exhaustion, lives in the subtropics and works in humid glass house or greenhouse! Really not the best situation… 🙂 Hey, at least I’m not on the Poweraid!