Decoding the Recycling Numbers Found on Plastic Items -- Plus The Truth Behind the #7 & Bisphenol-A (BPA)
For more information on BPA & polycarbonate, please visit:
FDA Website Polycarbonate Update
American Chemistry Council
Facts on Plastic
See our BPA-Free Drinkware & Tableware Styles
For nearly a decade, SmartLiving Companies has brought to consumer and commercial customers an assortment of reliable, durable and attractive plastic tableware items manufactured by reputable companies. We offer a wide variety of plastic tableware and drinkware items crafted in several proven plastics that have been in use for decades.
With the recent media attention on BPA, a component of one widely-used plastic, and related confusion/misinformation about the meaning of numbers that appear on some plastic items, we’ve compiled the following information to answer any questions you may have. This should provide clarification concerning the different plastics used in durable, high-quality plastic tableware.
What do the Numbers 1-7 Found on Some Plastic Items Mean?
Known as SPI Codes, the numbers 1-7, printed within a triangle on the bottom of most single-use and some multi-use plastic bottles and containers, are for the sole purpose of recycling collection and sorting. In 1988, the Society of Plastics Industry (SPI) created this simple numbering system to sort plastics – or more specifically, the resins used to make common plastics – for residential waste recycling.
The #7 simply represents a large, and growing, number of widely different types of plastics that do not fit into the more commonly recycled 1-6 classifications. Tried-and-true plastic products, including acrylic glasses, melamine dishes, SAN tableware, and polycarbonate, if marked, will display #7 – as would the new, eco-friendly biodegradable bio-plastics.
According to the SPI, these codes are not designed or intended to, in any way, define the safety or the appropriate application of any plastic item. These are to be used solely for residential recycling collection and sorting. For more information on these codes, please visit:
Plastic Resin Code Definitions
NOTE: Sometimes numbers not enclosed in a triangle appear on the bottom of plastic items. These numbers serve many different purposes, from the number for the mold sleeve, a style number, a production run number, or different factory/production identifiers. A number NOT in a triangle has nothing to do with recycling the item.
Polycarbonate Plastic and Bisphenol-A (BPA)
BPA, an FDA-approved food-safe material is used in many, many different food contact applications, one being the production of unbreakable polycarbonate plastic. FDA-approved food-grade polycarbonate has been in use for decades. It is one of few plastics approved for long term water storage, and is widely used in institutional, consumer and commercial foodservice applications.
Polycarbonate is, has been, and continues to be approved for direct food contact by the FDA, the EC (European Health and Consumer Protection Directorate), NSF International (an independent testing authority focusing on foodservice products), and the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.
These reputable civic and independent authorities continually monitor and review scientific studies, and continue to find polycarbonate a safe plastic for commercial and institutional foodservice use, and consumer use.
In light of the media attention of April 2008, focusing on baby bottles, the FDA reports:
Based on our ongoing review, we believe there is a large body of evidence that indicates that FDA-regulated products containing BPA currently on the market are safe and that exposure levels to BPA from food contact materials, including for infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects. However, we will continue to consider new research and information as they become available.
At this time, FDA is not recommending that anyone discontinue using products that contain BPA while we continue our risk assessment process. However, concerned consumers should know that several alternatives to polycarbonate baby bottles exist, including glass baby bottles.
If you Prefer an Alternative to Polycarbonate:
For our customers’ convenience, all of our plastic tableware and drinkware lines have always clearly listed the type of plastic each product is made from. If you prefer to seek an alternative to polycarbonate plastic, both KidSmartLiving.com and SimplySmartLiving.com offer a wide variety of durable, attractive plastic tableware that does not contain BPA. These items include: Acrylic, SAN, Polypropylene and Melamine plastic
Follow the link to:
BPA-Free Drinkware & Tableware Styles for our BPA-free plastic tableware and for more information about BPA.
Note: Polycarbonate plastic remains the only truly unbreakable choice among food-approved plastics.