Saturday, 2 July 2011


I first drafted the following post in July last year.  Why didn't I post it ? At the time I thought that giant plastics companies would find my blog, object to what I wrote and sue my ass off ! Conspiracy theories and persecution complexes, not to mention illusions of grandeur and self importance, run amok ! On rereading the post I feel that there is nothing new in the writing. I merely pass on what I have found about plastics and leave anyone who follows this blog to make their own decisions, and pursue their own research if they have a mind to. I simply think that we should all be more aware of not only what goes into our food, but also what goes on it , what goes around it, and how it is stored. Plastics are now very much a part of our food chain.

I have been worrying about all the plastics in my environment, and warning everyone I can about the hazards of plastics leeching into any foodstuff with oil. Why ? Because plastics create pseudo- oestrogens in our bodies, and my cancer is very sensitive to oestrogen. I don't want anyone I know to develop cancer because I failed to pass on my concerns. But it has struck me that I don't know what I'm talking about really. I just blanket all plastics together. And doing that makes for a lot of worry. I'm not saying those worries are unfounded, and I will continue to avoid it as much as possible , but it's impossible to eliminate it completely without leaving the planet earth, so I've done some research. Up to present, I've been overwhelmed by all the plastic that makes up my world and whilst I've known there are different types, it has been easiest for me to blanket them all together. But the time has come to face my fears and find out which are the better choices, and which are the worst. I can't do anything about their existence, or what they are used for. If I don't want my hummus wrapped in a little plastic pot from the supermarket I'll have to make it myself. But information is power and I'm going to arm myself as well as I can. Not all plastics are identifiable as anything other than plastic, or manmade material. But there are ways to identify some of them.

We are all aware that plastics are widely used in the food industry, and I think we should all educate ourselves about what is in and on our foods. Plastics are not inert and totally harmless. There has long been widespread advice not to microwave food using some plastic wraps. But it's only recently that attention was directed at baby bottles, and recently advice has come out warning against putting plastic bottles of water in the freezer. As it becomes increasingly difficult to buy any foodstuff without plastic packaging, I think we should be warned against its hazards.

Hard plastic containers generally, though not always, have a code on the bottom - a number surrounded by a triangle of chasing arrows. This number is a resin identification number, and it's there due to consumer demand for some way of sorting the plastic waste for recycling. It was introduced in 1988 when the Society of Plastic Industry Inc. agreed to a voluntary coding system.

What the codes mean :-


Designed for a single use only. Extended use increases the risk of leaching ( dissolves into whatever it contains ) and bacteria growth.

Uses - plastic bottles for soft drinks, water, juice, sports drinks, beer, mouthwash, salad dressings, vegetable oil and ketchup. food jars, ovenable film, microwaveable food trays, boil- in- the- bags, and oven safe food trays. cosmetic containers, textiles, monofilament, carpet strapping, and engineering mouldings.

It can be recycled and then be used for fibre, tote bags, clothing and polar fleece, food and drink containers, carpet, luggage, bean bags, rope, car bumpers, boat sails and furniture.

recycling rate - 23%

Appears to be safe. More stable than PET and safer from hormone-like chemicals.

Uses - milk, water and juice containers, yoghurt and margarine pots and tubs, cosmetic containers, shampoo, household cleaners, and laundry detergent bottles, cereal box liners, grocery, rubbish and retail bags.

It can be recycled into liquid laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner bottles, motor oil bottles, pipe, buckets, crates, flower pots, garden edging, recycling bins, plastic lumber , floor tiles, fencing pens and white contamination suits.

recycling rate - 27%


Avoid this plastic. It contains many dangerous toxins, and is nicknamed the poison plastic. Toxic additives and stabilizers such as lead and plasticisers contribute to the problem when they break down. Contains BPA and pthalates as well as DEHA (di(2-ethylhexyl)adipate) which is linked to liver cancer. DEHA in cling film leaches into oily foods on contact. It releases dioxins in manufacture and as it ages and weathers.

Uses - clear food and non-food packaging, shrink wrap, deli and meat wrap, medical tubing, blood bags, shampoo bottles, wire and cable insulation, construction products like pipes, fittings, windows, carpet backing, synthetic leather, shower curtains, dashboards, outdoor furniture and in plumbing.

this is the least recyclable plastic , but can be used in packaging, gutters, mud flaps, flooring, electrical boxes and cables , traffic cones, garden hose, and decking.

recycling rate - > 1%


Appears to be safe. Uses - bread and frozen food bags, plastic food wrap, sandwich bags, condiment squeeze bottles, clothing, furniture, and carpet. coatings for paper milk cartons, hot and cold beverage cups, and toys . It has excellent resistance to acids and vegetable oils, and is popular where heat sealing is necessary.

Recycling uses more energy than producing the new product. However, when used, products include rubbish bags and bins, compost bins, floor tiles, furniture, lumber and landscape timber, and shipping envelopes.

recycling rate - >1%


Appears to be safe.

Uses - yoghurt pots and margarine tubs, cereal box liners, straws, crisp bags, syrup and condiment squeeze bottles, takeout meal and deli food containers, medicine bottles, bottle caps and closures, automotive parts, packing tape, tupperware, and new BPA-free baby bottles. It has a high melting point which makes it good for containing hot liquids.

recycled products include brooms, brushes, ice scrapers, oil funnels, rakes, bike racks, car battery cases, battery cables, rakes, bins and pallets.

recycle rate - 3%


May leach styrene ( heat increases the leaching effect - think hot cars left in the sun !), a possible human carcinogen, and may be a hormone disruptor.

Uses - meat and poultry trays, egg cartons, rigid food containers such as yoghurt pots, hinged takeout containers ( clamshells ), some citrus juice and ketchup bottles, oven baking bags, food service items such as plates, cutlery, cups and bowls, aspirin bottles, packaging peanuts, cd and dvd cases, protective packaging.

Recycled products include foam packaging, foam plates, etc, thermal insulation, egg cartons, light switch pates, thermometers, and rulers.

recycle rate - >1%

Polystyrene is eaten by birds and animals, and causes suffering and death.


This indicates that either a number of different resins were used, perhaps in a multi - layer system, or resins other than those identified above were used. It is a catch-all category.

There is concern that there is leaching of Bisphonol A which appears to cause chromosomal damage.

Uses vary , and it can be recycled into bottles and plastic lumber.

recycle rate - > 1%

In Conclusion, and on a personal note  I really can't comprehend the amount of plastic that is polluting our environment. You can see from the figures above that much cannot be recycled, and that any is recycled acts in just the same way as any plastic when it gets old and unwanted.  It's like some alien being,  polluting and poisoning us, which just keeps reproducing - and like a cancer ( !!! ) -  it doesn't die ! It doesn't break down. It has a different life cycle entirely. It's the stuff of science fiction and horror stories.  Every time we buy the stuff we are voting with our wallets for more.  Let us as buyers beware . Do we really want to be ingesting this stuff ?  And do we honestly think there will be no consequences in putting inorganic substances into our organic bodies ? Would anyone honestly want to drink the petrol that we put in our cars in preference to the food we grow in our gardens ? Because in effect we are taking our meat and two veg with a side order of plastics and petroleum.   The lunatics have truly taken over the asylum .