What’s The Number At The Bottom of My Plastic Water Bottle?

Rumors have gone around that the number indicated on the bottom of your water bottle lets you know how many times you can reuse it. WRONG!!

The numbers actually indicate what plastic material the bottle is made of. Each number identifies the specific uses for any type of plastic-based product, from plastic wrap to yogurt containers.

Typically, only #1 and #2 with narrow necks can be placed in common plastic recycling bins. To recycle plastics with higher numbers, contact your local recycling facility. Find local recycling facilities for all types of materials. Numbers 1 and 2 plastics should only be used once – No refilling.

Plastic Recycling Symbols

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in many types of plastics.

According to the National Institute of Health: “BPA gets into our bodies when we eat or drink foods from containers made with BPA. Most plastic containers arena’t made with BPA, but it’s often found in a strong, see-through plastic called polycarbonate. (Polycarbonate containers with BPA usually have a #7 recycling symbol on the bottom, although not all plastics marked with drinking water from plastic bottle#7 contain BPA.) Scientists know that tiny amounts of BPA can leach out of these containers into foods and drinks.”

Some studies suggest that exposing the plastics to high temperatures can cause more BPA to seep into foods.

A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 90 percent of Americans age 6 and older have detectable levels of BPA in their urine.

A report from National Toxicology Program, released in September 2008, expressed “some concern” about BPA’s potential effects on infants, children and fetuses. Animal studies suggests that BPA exposure before adulthood can affect the brain, behavior and prostate gland.


  • Avoid using plastic plastic food containerscontainers in the microwave. Chemicals are released from the plastic when heated and leech into the food. Don’t microwave food and drinks in plastic containers, unless they say “Microwave Safe.” Instead, use ceramic containers free of metallic paint.
  • Avoid using cling wrap in the microwave. Use waxed paper or a paper towel instead. If you must use plastic wrap, don’t let it touch your food.
  • Avoid plastic bottled water unless you’re traveling or live in an area of questionable water. Because bottled water is less regulated, it has less-certain purity and safety than tap water, and is much more expensive.
  • Reduce or eliminate the use of plastic bottles to avoid landfill waste and exposure to chemicals that leach from the plastic. There are biodegradable, bio-based plastic water bottles on the market.
  • Never put warm or hot liquids in a plastic bottle.
  • Bring your own bag to the grocery store. Avoid using plastic bags.
  • If you’re going to use plastic, use containers that do not contain BPA.

Recycle: reprocessing of materials into new products
Reuse: the act of using something again
The bottling industry alone now uses up around 100 million barrels of oil a year to product their product packaging, and that doesn’t include the fuel used to transport them around the world.

BPA-FREE material
Only 1 percent of plastic bags produced globally each year are recycled. In a 2007 national survey, 72 percent of Americans did not know that plastic is an oil-based product. (Around 10 percent of U.S. oil consumption goes into making plastic.) Forty percent of people think that plastic biodegrades underground, in composts, landfills or out at sea. The truth is, it doesn’t biodegrade at all, at least not for up to a thousand years or more.

FACT: SALVE containers are BPA-free.

If we recycled every plastic bottle we used, we would keep two billion tons of plastic out of landfills. We use enough plastic wrap to wrap all of Texas every year.

Sources: Earth911.com; National Institute of Health, “Worried About Plastic Bottles;” Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy; and CNN.com/Asia: Recycling Plastics

Written by Dahlia Kelada
SALVE and SalveNaturals.com © 2015 All Rights Reserved

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