The Canadian government’s latest move to ban polycarbonate plastic baby bottles has caused a great deal of concern about the use of plastic for food and drink. The focus also raised some issues related to the recycling of plastics.
There are seven categories of plastics, which are marked with a number surrounded by a recycling symbol. The numbers range from №1 to 7. They all have different chemical compositions and, as a result, determine their use.
Attention, it is on №7 plastic with PC (polycarbonate) mark next to it. In some cases, all you see is a PC. №7 plastics represent a combination of all other types of plastics. The addition of PC creates a lightweight, high-performance plastic with a unique balance of strength, dimensional stability, optical clarity and high thermal resistance. Therefore, we see this in many applications, including food containers and utensils.
The scary thing about the PC container is the addition of Bisphenol A (BPA), the main building block of polycarbonate plastic. In a food or beverage application container, studies have shown the migration of BPA from container to food. The big debate, of course, is how much BPA is in the food and how much should we consume before our hormones break down?
We will not answer that here. But let’s see how this plastic will affect recycling.
In fact, there is no change in the recycling practices of existing plastic containers. The collection on the edge of the curb and any warehouse will still collect # 7PC plastic without question. Mixed plastics will be shredded and transformed into new №7 plastics, and if production # 7 adds a lot of polycarbonate to the mix, some may have a personal computer purpose.
Plastics that should not be used for informational purposes only, such as food and beverage activities, include №3, №6 and №7. The safest plastics to use are # 1, # 2, # 4 and # 5. However, there are concerns about the reuse of plastic containers and the heating of food-grade plastics.