Confused about which plastics are safer for you and your kids?  You’re not alone!  Here are the ABCs to help you make healthy choices.

The numbers and abbreviations to the left are recycling codes, which can be found on the bottoms of most food and beverage containers.

Ok to use?

#

Type of Plastic

Common Uses

Ingredients of Concern

1

PET, PETE: Polyethylene terephthalate

Bottled water, juice, and
soda

Containers for prepared
foods such as ketchup, mustard, dressing, and peanut butter

Bottled cooking oil

Hormonal activity found in some studies, potentially due to antimony

 2

HDPE:
High Density Polyethylene

Cloudy baby bottles, sippy
cups, and water bottles

Bottled milk, water, and
juice

Cereal box liners

Grocery bags

3

PVC, Vinyl, V:
Polyvinyl Chloride

Lunch boxes

Commercial cling wrap

If you purchase cling-wrapped foods, remove the
wrap and transfer food to a safer container

May contain phthalates,  plasticizers
linked with birth defects and asthma

May contain lead, which harms children’s
learning and behavior

4

LDPE:
Low Density Polyethylene

Cloudy baby bottles, sippy
cups, and water bottles

Bags for bread, frozen
foods and fresh produce

Zip-loc bags

Consumer cling wrap (such
as GladTM and Saran)

5

PP:
Polypropylene

Cloudy baby bottles, sippy
cups, and water bottles

Containers for storing
leftovers (such as GladwareTM and Rubbermaid)

Dairy and deli tubs

Squeezable bottles for
ketchup, honey, syrup, etc.

6

PS:
Polystyrene

Carryout food containers

Styrofoam cups and dishware

Styrene: possible carcinogen,
toxic to the nervous system

7

Other:
Polycarbonate, sometimes labeled PC

Bio-based plastics, which can also be coded as #7 Other,
are ok to use.

Clearbaby bottles, sippy cups, and water bottles

Polycarbonate can be colored but is always clear, not
cloudy

Bisphenol A (BPA): estrogen-mimicking chemical linked with cancer, changes in behavior, and altered immune
function

Learn more about choosing safer
plastics on our other pages:

Safe Start For Kids Home

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