1. 8 Products Every Natural Skincare Lover Needs
  2. Sticky Orange Tempeh with Maple Thyme Roasted Vegetables
  3. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 02-22-2020
  4. What’s NEW in the JSHealth App 2.0
  5. Chocolate & Peanut Butter Fondant
  6. The Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish and Nail Polish Removers on Amazon
  7. Introducing Alchemy Meal Prep!
  8. Safe Anti-Aging Skincare for Breastfeeding Moms
  9. Our Pick of the Best Natural Shampoo Bars That Are Hot Right Now
  10. Our Favorite Sulfate-Free Shampoos of 2020
  11. Natural and Eco-Friendly Scrubs for a Glowing Face and Body
  12. Top 7 Washable and Eco-Friendly Makeup Removers
  13. 7 Products Every Natural Skincare Lover Needs
  14. A List of Our Favorite Silicone-Free Hair Products
  15. 13 Stretch Mark Creams That Are Safe for Pregnancy
  16. Our Favorite Non-Toxic, Chemical-Free Sunscreens
  17. Book review: The Easy 5-Ingredient Pescatarian Cookbook
  18. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 02-15-2020
  19. Vegan Chickpea Walnut Tacos
  20. Permission to Love Yourself, Too
  21. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 02-08-2020
  22. Lovely Meals Lately
  23. Tart Cherry Orange Pistachio Bread (Gluten-Free!)
  24. Top 6 Sodium Culprits
  25. Fasting and You
  26. Drool-Worthy Healthy Lunch Recipes You Need in Your Life
  27. Cherry Orange Pistachio Bread (Gluten-Free!)
  28. The Truth About Plastics
  29. Heartfelt Foods
  30. BPA Explained
  31. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 02-01-2020
  32. Savvy Spending with Nicole Lapin
  33. 5-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chia Balls
  34. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 01-25-2020
  35. Can neurogastronomy save the world?
  36. Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole
  37. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: 01-18-2020
  38. Pantry 2020 Basics
  39. Top 10 Tips for Cooking Dried Legumes
  40. What I Ate Wednesday + Day In the Life
  41. Brussels Sprout Kale Caesar Salad with Rosemary Croutons
  42. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 01-11-2020
  43. Eat for your Dosha
  44. Keep it Moving
  45. No-Bake Chocolate Almond Butter Oatmeal Bars
  46. Apple Cider Vinegar for Digestion
  47. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 01-04-2020
  48. Mediterranean Vegetable Pasta with Chickpeas
  49. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-28-2019
  50. Get Well, Not High
  51. 21 Fabulously Festive Vegan Holiday Treats
  52. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-21-2019
  53. Vegan Lasagna Soup
  54. Sweet Potato Rounds with Goat Cheese, Roasted Grapes, and Pecans
  55. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-14-2019
  56. Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (Gluten-Free!)
  57. Kid-approved vegan eats
  58. Fudgy Avocado Walnut Brownies
  59. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-07-2019
  60. Amazing Vegan Ginger Molasses Cookies
  61. 2019 Holiday Gift Guide For Her
  62. Herbal Inclusions for Dishes and Drinks
  63. 4 Diabetes Game Changers
  64. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-30-2019
  65. Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Cream Cheese
  66. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-23-2019
  67. Wedding Planning: The Ring, Our Vendors, and More!
  68. Instant Pot Vegan Cream of Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
  69. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-16-2019
  70. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 10-26-2019
  71. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-02-2019
  72. Roasted Potato, Mushroom, and Lentil Kale Salad
  73. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-09-2019
  74. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  75. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  76. What I Wednesday: FNCE in Philly!
  77. Potato, Mushroom, and Lentil Kale Salad
  78. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  79. Unearthing Evidence-Based Integrative Remedies to Stress
  80. Scribble Anxiety Away
  81. Best Hostess Gift Ever
  82. What I Ate Wednesday: Fiancé Edition!
  83. Pumpkin Walnut Burgers with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce
  84. Favorite Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes
  85. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  86. Vegan Chili Cornbread Casserole
  87. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  88. Orca Conservation
  89. Fall’s Functional Foods
  90. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  91. Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
  92. Simple Swaps for Your Zero Waste Journey
  93. Lessons on Food and Farming in Monterey, California
  94. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  95. Quick and Easy-One Pan Veggie Red Curry
  96. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-21-2019
  97. Here’s How to Live a more Colourful Life
  98. Cooking with CBD
  99. Eco-friendly Food Storage
  100. Bento Box Recipes
  101. How to Make Sushi Sandwich
  102. Healthy Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Dip
  103. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-14-2019
  104. 5 lunchbox ideas
  105. 17 Free and Easy Ways to Be a Self-Care Expert
  106. Fluffy Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
  107. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-07-2019
  108. 33 Mouthwatering Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for Dinner Tonight
  109. What I Ate Wednesday
  110. The Best Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing
  111. VOTE TODAY!
  112. Veggie Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
  113. Twilight Time: Reading With Kids
  114. Keep your cool
  115. Tart Cherry Crumble Pie
  116. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  117. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  118. Your brain on… air pollution?
  119. Brain Boosters
  120. MCT oil Coconut’s healthful gift
  121. Hot right now
  122. Cupcakes for breakfast?
  123. Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
  124. What is CBD? A Guide to Health Benefits, Usage, and More!
  125. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  126. Hummus Toast – 4 Ways!
  127. What I Ate Wednesday
  128. Fluffy Vegan Blueberry Banana Muffins
  129. Advances in Colorectal Cancer Research
  130. Advances in Breast Cancer Research
  131. Cleft Palate With Cleft Lip
  132. What is CPR?
  133. What Is Dementia? Symptoms, Types, and Diagnosis
  134. Cushing Syndrome (For Parents)
  135. Do Memory Problems Always Mean Alzheimers Disease?
  136. Manganese
  137. Study Shows that Disrupted Gut Bacteria May Contribute to the Spread of Breast Cancer
  138. She Faced Breast Cancer At 16 With Little Help From Doctors. Now She’s Speaking Out On Behalf Of Black Women
  139. What Do We Know About Healthy Aging?
  140. Participating in the Arts Creates Paths to Healthy Aging
  141. Setting Goals to be More Active Slows Memory Decline in Older African Americans
  142. Study Shows Music Eases Pain and Other Symptoms for Patients Undergoing Breast Cancer Treatment
  143. 49-Year-Old Breast Cancer Patient Grateful She Didn’t Wait Until 50 for a Mammogram
  144. Teen’s Innovative “SMART Armour” Protects Breast Cancer Patients from Radiation
  145. New Drug Improves 3-Year Survival by 50% for Young Women with Stage IV Breast Cancer
  146. Young Mother’s Life Tragically Taken by Breast Cancer After She Refused Traditional Treatments
  147. NIH Study Tracks Exercise with Mobile Apps to Improve Heart Health
  148. Lion With Skin Cancer Has Received Radiation Therapy In Hospital
  149. 3rd Grader Writes Note for Teacher Battling Breast Cancer to Read Right Before Treatment
  150. Skin Care
  151. Have Back Pain? These Are the Basic Spinal Structures You Need to Know
  152. The Final Word on Whether Alcohol Actually Has Any Health Benefits
  153. New One-Time “Seed” Treatment for Breast Cancer Being Used in Philadelphia
  154. Julia Louis-Dreyfus Talks About The Side Effects of Chemotherapy
  155. Teacher on Leave for Breast Cancer Treatment Forced to Pay for Her Own Substitute
  156. 27-Year-Old Thought She Was Injured Falling Off A Horse, But Then She Learned She Had Breast Cancer
  157. Should Surgery And Radiation Be The Standard Treatment For DCIS? The COMET Study Is Finding Out
  158. Judge Rules That 3-Year-Old Child With Leukemia Must Get Chemo Against Parents’ Wishes
  159. This Charcoal Powder Drastically Whitens Teeth Without Any Chemicals
  160. These Black Cherry-Flavored Shots Help Accelerate Weight Loss
  161. Olivia Newton-John Talks About How She Stays Positive Amid Cancer Battle
  162. This Army Captain Mom Was Diagnosed with Breast Cancer When She Was Just 8 Weeks Pregnant
  163. High-Deductible Health Plans Linked to Delayed Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Cancer
  164. Antibiotic shortages are putting Aboriginal kids at risk – The Conversation AU
  165. Cuddle beds bringing some physical comfort to end-of-life patients – ABC News
  166. People who skip breakfast are five times more likely to die after a heart attack – Daily Mail
  167. Yale researchers revive cells in dead pig brains – Yale Daily News
  168. Scientists revive cellular activity in brain of dead pigs: report – Fox News
  169. High-Deductible Health Policies Linked To Delayed Diagnosis And Treatment – NPR
  170. After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Technology Professor Teaches Computers to Read Mammograms
  171. Fact or Fiction: What to Know About Smoking Cessation and Medications
  172. If Soap and Water Are Not Available, Hand Sanitizers May Be a Good Alternative
  173. Autism: Beware of Potentially Dangerous Therapies and Products
  174. One side of your brain might be giving you nightmares – Cosmos
  175. What Personality Tests Tell Us About Ourselves – NPR
  176. Having a resting heart rate of 75 beats per minute DOUBLES your risk of an early death – Daily Mail
  177. Wear protective goggles to play badminton
  178. Herbal drug kratom linked to almost 100 overdose deaths, CDC says – USA TODAY
  179. Ability to lift weights quickly can mean a longer life – EurekAlert
  180. Climate change is making allergy season worse – CNN
  181. 11 Unexpected Ways You Can Relieve Headaches – HuffPost
  182. New Jersey preschoolers have highest autism rates in the nation, researchers say
  183. Auburn gymnast who suffered severe injuries: My pain is not your entertainment
  184. A four-day work week could improve our health and cut carbon emissions
  185. Promising treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome fails large trial
Thursday, February 27, 2020
  1. 8 Products Every Natural Skincare Lover Needs
  2. Sticky Orange Tempeh with Maple Thyme Roasted Vegetables
  3. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 02-22-2020
  4. What’s NEW in the JSHealth App 2.0
  5. Chocolate & Peanut Butter Fondant
  6. The Best Non-Toxic Nail Polish and Nail Polish Removers on Amazon
  7. Introducing Alchemy Meal Prep!
  8. Safe Anti-Aging Skincare for Breastfeeding Moms
  9. Our Pick of the Best Natural Shampoo Bars That Are Hot Right Now
  10. Our Favorite Sulfate-Free Shampoos of 2020
  11. Natural and Eco-Friendly Scrubs for a Glowing Face and Body
  12. Top 7 Washable and Eco-Friendly Makeup Removers
  13. 7 Products Every Natural Skincare Lover Needs
  14. A List of Our Favorite Silicone-Free Hair Products
  15. 13 Stretch Mark Creams That Are Safe for Pregnancy
  16. Our Favorite Non-Toxic, Chemical-Free Sunscreens
  17. Book review: The Easy 5-Ingredient Pescatarian Cookbook
  18. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 02-15-2020
  19. Vegan Chickpea Walnut Tacos
  20. Permission to Love Yourself, Too
  21. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 02-08-2020
  22. Lovely Meals Lately
  23. Tart Cherry Orange Pistachio Bread (Gluten-Free!)
  24. Top 6 Sodium Culprits
  25. Fasting and You
  26. Drool-Worthy Healthy Lunch Recipes You Need in Your Life
  27. Cherry Orange Pistachio Bread (Gluten-Free!)
  28. The Truth About Plastics
  29. Heartfelt Foods
  30. BPA Explained
  31. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 02-01-2020
  32. Savvy Spending with Nicole Lapin
  33. 5-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chia Balls
  34. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 01-25-2020
  35. Can neurogastronomy save the world?
  36. Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole
  37. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: 01-18-2020
  38. Pantry 2020 Basics
  39. Top 10 Tips for Cooking Dried Legumes
  40. What I Ate Wednesday + Day In the Life
  41. Brussels Sprout Kale Caesar Salad with Rosemary Croutons
  42. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 01-11-2020
  43. Eat for your Dosha
  44. Keep it Moving
  45. No-Bake Chocolate Almond Butter Oatmeal Bars
  46. Apple Cider Vinegar for Digestion
  47. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 01-04-2020
  48. Mediterranean Vegetable Pasta with Chickpeas
  49. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-28-2019
  50. Get Well, Not High
  51. 21 Fabulously Festive Vegan Holiday Treats
  52. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-21-2019
  53. Vegan Lasagna Soup
  54. Sweet Potato Rounds with Goat Cheese, Roasted Grapes, and Pecans
  55. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-14-2019
  56. Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (Gluten-Free!)
  57. Kid-approved vegan eats
  58. Fudgy Avocado Walnut Brownies
  59. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-07-2019
  60. Amazing Vegan Ginger Molasses Cookies
  61. 2019 Holiday Gift Guide For Her
  62. Herbal Inclusions for Dishes and Drinks
  63. 4 Diabetes Game Changers
  64. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-30-2019
  65. Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Cream Cheese
  66. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-23-2019
  67. Wedding Planning: The Ring, Our Vendors, and More!
  68. Instant Pot Vegan Cream of Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
  69. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-16-2019
  70. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 10-26-2019
  71. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-02-2019
  72. Roasted Potato, Mushroom, and Lentil Kale Salad
  73. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-09-2019
  74. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  75. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  76. What I Wednesday: FNCE in Philly!
  77. Potato, Mushroom, and Lentil Kale Salad
  78. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  79. Unearthing Evidence-Based Integrative Remedies to Stress
  80. Scribble Anxiety Away
  81. Best Hostess Gift Ever
  82. What I Ate Wednesday: Fiancé Edition!
  83. Pumpkin Walnut Burgers with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce
  84. Favorite Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes
  85. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  86. Vegan Chili Cornbread Casserole
  87. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  88. Orca Conservation
  89. Fall’s Functional Foods
  90. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  91. Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
  92. Simple Swaps for Your Zero Waste Journey
  93. Lessons on Food and Farming in Monterey, California
  94. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  95. Quick and Easy-One Pan Veggie Red Curry
  96. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-21-2019
  97. Here’s How to Live a more Colourful Life
  98. Cooking with CBD
  99. Eco-friendly Food Storage
  100. Bento Box Recipes
  101. How to Make Sushi Sandwich
  102. Healthy Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Dip
  103. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-14-2019
  104. 5 lunchbox ideas
  105. 17 Free and Easy Ways to Be a Self-Care Expert
  106. Fluffy Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
  107. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-07-2019
  108. 33 Mouthwatering Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for Dinner Tonight
  109. What I Ate Wednesday
  110. The Best Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing
  111. VOTE TODAY!
  112. Veggie Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
  113. Twilight Time: Reading With Kids
  114. Keep your cool
  115. Tart Cherry Crumble Pie
  116. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  117. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  118. Your brain on… air pollution?
  119. Brain Boosters
  120. MCT oil Coconut’s healthful gift
  121. Hot right now
  122. Cupcakes for breakfast?
  123. Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
  124. What is CBD? A Guide to Health Benefits, Usage, and More!
  125. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  126. Hummus Toast – 4 Ways!
  127. What I Ate Wednesday
  128. Fluffy Vegan Blueberry Banana Muffins
  129. Advances in Colorectal Cancer Research
  130. Advances in Breast Cancer Research
  131. Cleft Palate With Cleft Lip
  132. What is CPR?
  133. What Is Dementia? Symptoms, Types, and Diagnosis
  134. Cushing Syndrome (For Parents)
  135. Do Memory Problems Always Mean Alzheimers Disease?
  136. Manganese
  137. Study Shows that Disrupted Gut Bacteria May Contribute to the Spread of Breast Cancer
  138. She Faced Breast Cancer At 16 With Little Help From Doctors. Now She’s Speaking Out On Behalf Of Black Women
  139. What Do We Know About Healthy Aging?
  140. Participating in the Arts Creates Paths to Healthy Aging
  141. Setting Goals to be More Active Slows Memory Decline in Older African Americans
  142. Study Shows Music Eases Pain and Other Symptoms for Patients Undergoing Breast Cancer Treatment
  143. 49-Year-Old Breast Cancer Patient Grateful She Didn’t Wait Until 50 for a Mammogram
  144. Teen’s Innovative “SMART Armour” Protects Breast Cancer Patients from Radiation
  145. New Drug Improves 3-Year Survival by 50% for Young Women with Stage IV Breast Cancer
  146. Young Mother’s Life Tragically Taken by Breast Cancer After She Refused Traditional Treatments
  147. NIH Study Tracks Exercise with Mobile Apps to Improve Heart Health
  148. Lion With Skin Cancer Has Received Radiation Therapy In Hospital
  149. 3rd Grader Writes Note for Teacher Battling Breast Cancer to Read Right Before Treatment
  150. Skin Care
  151. Have Back Pain? These Are the Basic Spinal Structures You Need to Know
  152. The Final Word on Whether Alcohol Actually Has Any Health Benefits
  153. New One-Time “Seed” Treatment for Breast Cancer Being Used in Philadelphia
  154. Julia Louis-Dreyfus Talks About The Side Effects of Chemotherapy
  155. Teacher on Leave for Breast Cancer Treatment Forced to Pay for Her Own Substitute
  156. 27-Year-Old Thought She Was Injured Falling Off A Horse, But Then She Learned She Had Breast Cancer
  157. Should Surgery And Radiation Be The Standard Treatment For DCIS? The COMET Study Is Finding Out
  158. Judge Rules That 3-Year-Old Child With Leukemia Must Get Chemo Against Parents’ Wishes
  159. This Charcoal Powder Drastically Whitens Teeth Without Any Chemicals
  160. These Black Cherry-Flavored Shots Help Accelerate Weight Loss
  161. Olivia Newton-John Talks About How She Stays Positive Amid Cancer Battle
  162. This Army Captain Mom Was Diagnosed with Breast Cancer When She Was Just 8 Weeks Pregnant
  163. High-Deductible Health Plans Linked to Delayed Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Cancer
  164. Antibiotic shortages are putting Aboriginal kids at risk – The Conversation AU
  165. Cuddle beds bringing some physical comfort to end-of-life patients – ABC News
  166. People who skip breakfast are five times more likely to die after a heart attack – Daily Mail
  167. Yale researchers revive cells in dead pig brains – Yale Daily News
  168. Scientists revive cellular activity in brain of dead pigs: report – Fox News
  169. High-Deductible Health Policies Linked To Delayed Diagnosis And Treatment – NPR
  170. After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Technology Professor Teaches Computers to Read Mammograms
  171. Fact or Fiction: What to Know About Smoking Cessation and Medications
  172. If Soap and Water Are Not Available, Hand Sanitizers May Be a Good Alternative
  173. Autism: Beware of Potentially Dangerous Therapies and Products
  174. One side of your brain might be giving you nightmares – Cosmos
  175. What Personality Tests Tell Us About Ourselves – NPR
  176. Having a resting heart rate of 75 beats per minute DOUBLES your risk of an early death – Daily Mail
  177. Wear protective goggles to play badminton
  178. Herbal drug kratom linked to almost 100 overdose deaths, CDC says – USA TODAY
  179. Ability to lift weights quickly can mean a longer life – EurekAlert
  180. Climate change is making allergy season worse – CNN
  181. 11 Unexpected Ways You Can Relieve Headaches – HuffPost
  182. New Jersey preschoolers have highest autism rates in the nation, researchers say
  183. Auburn gymnast who suffered severe injuries: My pain is not your entertainment
  184. A four-day work week could improve our health and cut carbon emissions
  185. Promising treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome fails large trial

It’s easy to think that plastic is plastic, but the truth is that there are so many types, and they all behave in different ways. Some are worse for the environment, and some are worse for our health. What’s a regular nonchemist to do? Read this plastics primer, for starters!

Make sure to download this printable PDF to keep this information handy in your kitchen.

Plastics by the numbers

If you look at most plastic packaging, you’ll often see a number (#1 to #7) in the middle of triangular arrows; that’s a resin code, and it tells us what type of plastic it is. Contrary to popular belief, this resin code is not a recycling symbol and doesn’t mean the item is recyclable.

#1 (PETE/PET)

A bit about it

Polyethylene terephthalate is often a firm plastic that’s used for single-use items such as water bottles.

Recycling

It’s relatively easy to recycle.

Health

It is thought to leach a suspected carcinogen called antimony, especially at high temperatures.

#2 (HDPE)

A bit about it

High-density polyethylene is typically a hard plastic (such as for medicine bottles, milk jugs, or detergent bottles) but other times is a bag, such as cereal box liners.

Recycling

Generally, firm #2 plastics are easily recycled, but box liners are less recyclable.

Health

Compared to other plastics, it is considered a safer option.

#3 (PVC)

A bit about it

Polyvinyl chloride is very challenging to identify, as it can be found in a variety of consumer goods and is often not labelled. It can be found in some, but not all, soft plastics such as shower curtains, rain gear, cling wrap, school supplies, and children’s toys, as well as pipes.

Recycling

Technically recyclable, but very rarely accepted except at specialty locations.

Health

PVC can leach numerous chemicals, including chlorine and phthalates (which are known reproductive toxins). Its manufacturing also releases harmful chemicals.

#4 (LDPE)

A bit about it

Low-density polyethylene is sometimes a hard plastic, but is known for being the quintessential grocery bag.

Recycling

Technically recyclable, but notoriously challenging, as it tends to get caught in sorting equipment and cause safety issues. Plastic bags are also considered a cheap material with little value and too much contamination, meaning that they’re often shipped abroad to countries such as Malaysia, which are now pushing back and refusing our plastic garbage. Plastic bags are not often accepted in curbside pick-up recycling programs.

Health

Compared to other plastics, it is considered a safer option.

#5 (PP)

A bit about it

Polypropylene is typically a hard plastic used for things such as yogurt tubs and food storage containers.

Recycling

Generally, #5 plastics are widely recyclable.

Health

Compared to other plastics, it is considered a safer option.

#6 (PS)

A bit about it

Polystyrene is often known as Styrofoam or foam. This lightweight material is used as packing material, takeout containers, some disposable cups, egg cartons, meat trays, and even yogurt containers. (Note that it doesn’t always look like foam.)

Recycling

Technically recyclable, but not always accepted except at specialty locations, where it may be densified to press out the air that makes polystyrene foam bulky to ship to processors.

Health

It has been shown to leach styrene and other toxins.

#7 (OTHER)

A bit about it

This category is a catch-all, so it includes all plastics not previously mentioned (including polycarbonate plastic—BPA).

Recycling

Technically recyclable, but very rarely accepted except at specialty locations.

Health

Since this is a catch-all category, it’s nearly impossible to say. For information about BPA, or bisphenol A, see the sidebar.

Are bioplastics better?

Bioplastics—plastics made from plants— and biodegradable plastics often pose as eco-friendly solutions.

Vito Buonsante, plastics program manager at Environmental Defence, explains that some plastics are made from plants, but this doesn’t make them biodegradable, and some are not bio-based but are still biodegradable. (Note that degradable just means it will break down into smaller pieces.)

Plus, compostable plastics require very specific conditions with light, microbes, and heat. They won’t break down in landfills, but also do poorly in the oceans. Typically, they require industrial composters, which consumers don’t have access to.

“Generally, bioplastics are a scam,” says Buonsante. “They cause a lot of confusion and give the wrong signal to people. In most cases, it makes things worse because it’s often not recyclable, but there’s no way to tell the difference between it and conventional plastics.” This means that the recycling will be contaminated and will all become garbage.

“We also need to consider the point of compost, which is to create new, high quality soil. Even if they can be composted, plastics don’t increase the value of the soil,” he says.

So, what do we do?

“Remember that recycling is expensive, and it’s a business—there needs to be a market to buy the product,” says Vito Buonsante, plastics program manager at Environmental Defence. Even though it is counterintuitive, virgin plastic is often cheaper than recycled plastic. Much of what we think is recyclable is not: as of 2015, approximately 6,300 metric tonnes of plastic waste has been generated globally, only 9 percent of which has been recycled.

The best advice is to refuse, reduce, and reuse when possible. Here are a few tips.

  • When shopping, bring grocery shopping bags as well as cloth bags for unpackaged foods.
  • Choose unpackaged foods, such as loose produce, bread from the bakery section, and bulk goods.
  • Research recycling rules in your community so you know which products are best to purchase and how to treat the plastics you obtain.
  • Make an “on-the-go kit” that includes a water bottle, travel mug, and cutlery.

Handle with care

When it comes to the health considerations of using plastic, it depends on how we treat it. Plastics are very sensitive to their environments and can leach estrogenic chemicals if they become stressed by heat or UV damage. New research is showing that most plastics—even the ones considered safer options—leach chemicals.

Refrain from washing plastics in the dishwasher or microwaving or boiling plastics. According to Vito Buonsante, “microwave-safe means it won’t melt, but not that it’s safe.”

See also BPA Explained for more valuable insights!

A version of this article was published in the February 2020 issue of alive Canada with the title “The Truth About Plastics.”

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