Great plastic mnemonic

It can be difficult to remember which plastics are bad and which are “less bad” in terms of food storage, etc., because of the hormone mimicking and off-gassing properties of plastic. My personal belief is that the less plastic the better, especially when you are talking about plastic coming into contact with food, and I try to use glass and ceramic whenever possible. However, if you are using plastic for food storage, or buying pre-made foods stored in plastic, a great mnemonic device to remember which plastics are okay and which are dangerous is:

12:45 stay alive
367 go straight to heaven

Plastics 1, 2, 4 and 5 are more safe whereas plastics 3, 6 and 7 should be avoided. The number is usually stamped onto the bottom of most plastic containers, often within the 3-arrow triangle that symbolizes recycling (like at right.) Also, plastics 1 and 2 are the most easily recycled in America, although some cities (Los Angeles and Santa Monica are two I know of) are beginning to take all plastics for recycling.

Courtesy of Coop America

Help keep this blog running by donating or shopping at Green and Greener.

7/18/07 Update to recycling news:

Just came from a sustainability related conference where Eric Garcetti said that we can now put styrofoam in our blue recycling bins. I called the Bureau of Sanitation (800.773.CITY) and they confirmed this. Here are the latest additions to what we can put in our blue recycling bin: all plastic containers (including plastic bags and film…try and encapsulate all your bags ad film into one bag so that the plastic bags don’t go float out when the dump trucks empty the trash), styrofoam, wire hangers and aluminum foil. You don’t need to make sure these items are super clean (just rinsed) but nothing can be “contaminated” a la a pizza box that is drenched with grease can NOT be recycled.

Also, multi-family buildings (aka: apartments) can now use blue recycling bins too. Yay…I’m so excited!

Original post below…

Los Angeles: great news on plastics recycling

Yay…a new dawn has come upon Los Angeles as we begin to seriously deal with the issue of plastics. The bottom line? We can now put all plastic bags, film, wrappers and containers in our blue residential recycling bins. For more info, read on.

Plastic Bags
You only have to spend a minute walking the LA River to know what a serious problem the 19 BILLION plastic bags Angelenos use annually have become. They litter the trees like unwanted Christmas ornaments, birds often eat them and then starve when they have no room in their tummies for real food and it takes 82 MILLION barrels of oil a year to produce them.

The best way to end the use of disposable bags (paper or plastic) is to bring your own reusable bags when you go shopping. We leave at least 6 reusable bags in each of our cars and use them for all types of shopping. You know what makes great shopping bags? All those random giveaway bags you pick up going to events, etc.

The new law makes it so that all large stores have to provide plastic bag recycling in store. Even better, Los Angeles has finally made it so that we can put our plastic bags in our own blue residential recycling bins. This wasn’t the case before so that’s very exciting news. For more info go here:

Blurb from this page is below:
The Bureau of Sanitaion issues blue bins and recycling services to all residents in the unincorporated areas of the County of Los Angeles. Along with glass, paper, metal, aluminum and other materials, plastic bags can be recycled in these blue recycle bins. To help eliminate fly-away bags, place all your clean, dry plastic bags into one plastic bag, tie it off and then put it in the blue recycle bin.

Plastic Bottles
Also, we can now put ALL plastic bottles in these bins, whereas before we could only put #1 or #2, now we can put all plastics in the bin. Below is an updated recycling sticker that you can put on your fridge to remind you of what’s recyclable. You can download it here:

Help keep this blog running by donating or shopping at Green and Greener.