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ABOUT SPI CODES
* SPI codes #1- 7 designate the class of petro-chemical feedstock bases (resins, polymers) used in manufacture.
* Manufacturing process adds specific organic reagents to the feedstock.
* Highly toxic chemicals, some known carcinogens.
* Reagents customized to specific plastic products.
* Plastics “outgas” volatile organic components.
PLASTIC #1 [PETE, Polystyrene Terephthalate] (clear),
* Mostly used in water bottles; leaches out BPA.
* Each minute, 1 million bottles purchased around the globe.
* Colossal amounts of PETE litter landfills, landscapes, and oceans.
About 64% of bottled water sold here is filtered tap water-- (2018 report from the Food & Water Watch).
PLASTIC #2 [HDPE, High density polyethylene] (opaque).
* Used for bottles with necks, detergent containers, jugs.
PLASTIC #3, POLY-VINYL CHLORIDE (PVC).
* Valued for its hardness, flexibility, and durability; most widely used plastic.
* Final ingredients include ethylene and chlorine gases.
* Outgases "volatile organic compounds" (VOCs, new car smell) and hydrochloric acid.
* Ubiquitous in construction materials ie, pipes, flooring, siding; in autos, medical products, cable and wire insulation; and notably, children's plastic toys.
* Recycled in limited manner; should be avoided around food.
PLASTICS #4 LOW DENSITY POLYETHYLENE [LDPE], bag and film type plastic.
* Jams up solid plastic sorting machines-- why collected separately.
* Great strides in recycling in both industrial and post-consumer waste.
* Still significant disposal problem; > 1% is recycled.
PLASTIC #5 LINEAR LOW DENSITY POLYETHYLENE [LLDPE]
* Used for soft tubs and bottles.
* Used in prescription drug containers; recyclable if empty and identifiers blocked out.
PLASTIC #6 POLYSTYRENE [PS], Styrofoam brand.
* Outgases styrene.
* In seawater, disperses into particles to form floating films; these adsorb toxins.
* Films gather at land interfaces, coastal feeding and breeding areas.
* Infused with toxic fire retardant HBCD for building insulation.
* Recycling peanuts, grocery trays, only regionally; down-cycled to pellets; capacity limited by low transport reimbursement for lightweight materials.
* PS now banned in some regions and some US states; number of bans is accelerating.
PLASTIC #7, or “Everything else,”
* Broad catch-all for polycarbonate (PC) and “other” plastics.
* Difficult to recycle.
* Includes vanishingly small number of biodegradable compostable plastics; made from bio-based polymers like corn starch.
* Identifiable by initials “PLA” underneath the #7 code; some read “Compostable;" and literally require composting to degrade.
HELIUM PARTY BALLOONS
* Balloons, metallic balloons, and attached ribbons cause innumerable wildlife fatalities.
* Exponential growth in their use; more frequent and larger balloon releases now common.
* Please don’t buy; environmentally friendly alternates available; if you do buy, don’t release.
* Discarded fishing line another wildlife hazard; causes death by binding and immobilizing birds and animals.
Central Virginia Waste Management Authority (CVWMA).
* Handy interactive website tells how to recycle specific item.
* If it can’t take an item, call; they will direct one to a place that does take them, eg, electronics, metals.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
1) Plastic island: https://tinyurl.com/y6zfoguo
2) Bottled water: https://tinyurl.com/y5pz3uos
3) Plastic #3: https://tinyurl.com/y64lywzj
4) Foam recycling: https://tinyurl.com/y3794vuh
5) Balloons endanger wildlife: https://tinyurl.com/glkjcjg
6) Recycling guide: https://tinyurl.com/y2wtsv92