The first thing to do is look at the bottom of the container that we want to reuse to know what type of plastic it has been made with and then wash it well.
To reuse or not to reuse
Most of us interested in caring for the environment think of reusing plastic bottles, for example to fill them with water. But doubts arise due to certain information that circulates in the networks: these containers can release toxic components into the water for health. This is true?
The vast majority of plastic bottles on the market are made from plastic polymers such as polypropylene and copolyester, which makes them light and resistant. Many of these products contain Bisphenol A, an endocrine disruptor that causes the development of allergies and intolerances, and even more serious health problems, such as some types of cancer and long-term infertility.
In Europe, sensitive packaging is prohibited from containing Bisphenol A, but most bottles are made with polyethylene terephlate (PET)
The situation is complicated in times of heat, when the consumption of bottled water increases and Bisphenol A tends to be released more easily in high temperatures.
Currently, bottles with BPA are hardly made anymore, but other new materials are used, such as Bisphenol S, of which studies have already been done that suggest that it is not safe for humans.
The key is in the numbers
If we look closely at plastic containers, we can distinguish numbers enclosed in a triangle, calledMoebius triangle.
The numbers inside the triangle indicate the type of plastic (the resin or molecule the material comes from). Each type of plastic has a different recycling treatment, so it must be separated before being recycled.
For example, the components of a plastic bottle: body, cap and label are three different types of plastics, so when having a PET bottle, the ideal is to separate the cap and the label from the body.
The alternatives are usually containers made from other recycled materials, labeled with capital letters and a figure as an indicator of the type of plastic. Thus, for example, a number 7 indicates that the bottle may contain BPA, while a 6 would indicate the presence of polystyrene foam (EPS) and a 3 refers to polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The most widely used in commercialized bottles is polyethylene terephlate, labeled with the letters PET and the number 1.
So which bottles can be reused and for how long?
It is only recommended to reuse the bottle if the bottom is marked with PET 1, which does not release plastics as it is used. In any case, giving them a second useful life can create other health risks at a microbiological level. The lack of hygiene of the bottle means that it can be contaminated with bacteria from the mouth, hands or environmental exposure itself, even more so if it deteriorates. That is why it is advisable to wash it regularly like any dishes.
Bottled water numbers and costs
The figures for the sale of bottled water do not stop increasing. Its production has grown by about 50% since 2001. Despite this, bottled water cannot compete with tap water in most urbanized cities. “The water in the network passes very exhaustive controls that guarantee greater security than that sold bottled.
Plus, it doesn't need packaging, it's more environmentally friendly and, of course, it's much cheaper: bottled water can cost up to a thousand times more than that from the tap.
With information from: