Know what you use! #TakeCharge

69 years ago our forefathers took charge of our country. This Republic Day lets reinforce that feeling and #TakeCharge of our waste and work towards maintaining our land. Here is a list of symbols found on plastic whose meaning we should all know. It will not only teach us how to use it safely, but also how we can re-use and recycle it and make a difference in our own way. 

1.

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This is one of the most commonly used plastics in consumer products, and is found in most water and pop bottles, and some packaging. It is intended for single use applications; repeated use increases the risk of leaching and bacterial growth. Hence this should be recycled but not reused.

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HDPE plastic is the stiff plastic used to make milk jugs, detergent and oil bottles, toys, and some plastic bags. HDPE is the most commonly recycled plastic and is considered one of the safest forms of plastic. Hence, Products made of HDPE are reusable and recyclable.

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PVC is a soft, flexible plastic used to make clear plastic food wrapping, cooking oil bottles, teething rings, children’s and pets’ toys, and blister packaging for myriad consumer products. It is commonly used as the sheathing material for computer cables, and to make plastic pipes and parts for plumbing. Because PVC is relatively impervious to sunlight and weather, it is used to make window frames, garden hoses, arbors, raised beds and trellises. Products made using PVC plastic are not recyclable. While some PCV products can be repurposed, PVC products should not be reused for applications with food or for children’s use.

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LDPE is often found in shrink wraps, dry cleaner garment bags, squeezable bottles, and the type of plastic bags used to package bread. The plastic grocery bags used in most stores today are made using LDPE plastic. Products made using LDPE plastic are reusable, but not always recyclable. You need to check with your local collection service to see if they are accepting LDPE plastic items for recycling.

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Polypropylene plastic is tough and lightweight, and has excellent heat-resistance qualities. It serves as a barrier against moisture, grease and chemicals. When you try to open the thin plastic liner in a cereal box, it is polypropylene. This keeps your cereal dry and fresh. PP is also commonly used for bottle tops, margarine and yogurt containers, potato chip bags, straws, packing tape and rope. PP is considered safe for reuse and should definitely be recycled.

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Polystyrene is an inexpensive, lightweight and easily-formed plastic with a wide variety of uses. It is most often used to make disposable styrofoam drinking cups, take-out “clamshell” food containers, egg cartons, plastic picnic cutlery, foam packaging and those ubiquitous “peanut” foam chips used to fill shipping boxes to protect the contents. Polystyrene is also widely used to make rigid foam insulation and underlay sheeting for laminate flooring used in home construction. Recycling is not widely available for polystyrene products

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This symbol indicates that products are made of materials that are specifically designed for contact with food. So it is safe for you to use them for food.

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All products displaying this symbol are Bisphenol A free. This means you can store and heat your food without any worries.

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This symbol indicates that the product is designed to be used in the microwave. So you can safely reheat or defrost food in it in a microwave oven.

10.

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This symbol displays the minimum and maximum temperatures that the product can withstand: from the coldest, shown below the line (in the freezer) to the hottest, shown above it (in the microwave).

11.

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A product displaying this symbol can be used to store food in the refrigerator or freezer

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Products displaying this symbol are designed to be dishwasher safe.

Stay informed and #TakeCharge 🙂