A widespread custom is to reuse plastic water bottles. Whether it is for recycling, for saving money, or for practicality, the truth is that many of us use these bottles. And around this habit, there are many stories about the dangers of reusing plastic bottles. And doubts arise, is it possible or not?
It is possible depending on the material they are made of. Because although everything is plastic, it can come from different sources. And how can I know? It is very simple; in each bottle, there is a drawing of a triangle of arrows with a number inside. That number is not the number of times it can be reused or refilled, as many people think, but indicates the material from which the container is made. What types of materials are there?
What is pp 5 plastic?
It is, together with PET, one of the plastics recommended for contact with food, as it is inert and innocuous. The advantage of pp 5 is that it has a high resistance to temperature, which makes it the best in some cases. PP is the acronym given for Polypropylene and is assigned the number 5 among the different plastics.
Polypropylene offers some benefits over other plastics:
– It resists corrosion from acids or alkalis.
– It is totally impermeable.
– It resists high temperatures and sterilizes at high temperatures, so it can be used in sanitary articles.
– It is not affected by sudden changes in temperature.
– It does not contain BPA, which can be a hormone disruptor.
– It can be presented as a rigid or flexible material.
– It is 100% recyclable.
It is a heat-resistant plastic that serves as a barrier against moisture, grease, and chemicals. It is used, for example, in butter or yogurt containers and straws for soft drinks. They are safe to reuse and can be recycled.
Can we refill a plastic bottle?
There is a popular belief that plastic bottles cannot or should not be refilled. But is this a marketing strategy, or does it really pose a serious health hazard?
According to this theory, the reason why this practice is discouraged is that plastic can release some elements that are toxic to our health into the environment with which it comes into contact.
In our case, this medium is none other than food, either liquid or solid, which we will later ingest.
Chemically, the two substances that plastic releases and that can harm us are antimony and formaldehyde or acetaldehyde.
The former is a catalyst used for the formation of PET, and the latter is responsible for the “plastic taste” of some bottled water.
The biggest problem with refilling bottles is bacterial contamination, i.e., for hygienic reasons.
Although the containers we use have been previously treated, once opened, they become a paradise for microorganisms. For this reason, we must take special care to change or wash the bottles well.
In this way, specialists affirm that it is unlikely that the plastic will degrade since PET resists this type of treatment.
However, although these elements are actually present in harmless quantities, it is not impossible for plastic to yield compounds such as antimony to water.
Also, this can increase as the bottle deteriorates, so it is necessary to renew them appropriately.
In short, both specialists and members of the World Health Organization recommend in relation to bottles:
– Do not refill the same bottle too many times or keep it in use for a long time (one week).
– Do not refill bottles with beverages of a different nature from the original one.
– Do not expose bottles to sunlight or high temperatures.
– Use hygienic precautions when refilling bottles. This implies washing them with soap and water, and rinsing and drying them.
– Do not refill them with a liquid in bad condition or of dubious origin.
– Do not share bottles.
Now that you know the types of plastic that can be reused, we hope you will start interacting with this material in a different way that benefits both you and the planet.