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What You Really Need To Check When Using Plastic Containers

What You Really Need To Check When Using Plastic Containers

Our daily lives are filled with plastic, from tupperware to water bottles. Some plastic containers are safe for human consumption while others are potentially hazardous to your health.

Take a look around your kitchen. Are you sure your plastic is safe and non-toxic? To avoid risking your health, make sure to be familiar with the different types of plastic on the market today.

A simple glance, usually at the bottom of the container, is all you need to identify the material. Plastic is marked with a number, 1 through 7, and/or a set of letters that label its chemical composition. Like this:

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330755-R3L8T8D-650-1033-11

    Take a look below to find out what each one means.

    Type 1: PETE or PET

    PET plastic is clear, 100% recyclable, and most commonly used for drinks, mouthwash, and microwavable meal trays. In general, this plastic is considered safe for food and drink storage, although consumers should take some precautions.

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    It should be stored at room temperature. High temperatures can increase the levels of the chemical antimony, which is a potentially carcinogenic material. The rule of thumb with this plastic is to only use it once, as reuse can lead to bacterial build-up.

    Type 2: HDPE or HDP

    HDPE plastic is slightly harder than PET and has a very high strength-to-density ratio. Type 2 plastic is not transparent and has dye added for marketing purposes, which means it can come in many different colors. It is used to manufacture detergent bottles, milk jugs, and freezer bags. So far, experts have not found toxic chemicals in its composition. HDPE is not likely to leach into liquids, making it safe for food and drink storage.

    Type 3: PVC or 3V

    PVC plastic is potentially harmful to human health. It is used to make plastic cling wrap as well as some toys for children and pets. Type 3 plastic contains phthalates that may be related to reproductive complications in humans and animals due to chemicals that can affect hormonal production. These chemicals can easily leach into lipid-containing substances and have also been linked to asthma in children.

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    Type 4: LDPE

    LDPE plastic is flexible and solvent-resistant. Often used in frozen food, bread, and garbage bags as well as squeezable condiment bottles, it is not known to leach chemicals into food. It can also be found in the lining of paper milk cartons. Its production is considered hazardous but its use is considered low hazard. Many people feel more comfortable avoiding it.

    Type 5: PP

    PP plastic is harder than other plastics and semi-transparent. Common uses for this plastic include yogurt bottles, medicine containers, and margarine and butter tubs. This plastic can be placed in the microwave and reach high temperatures without melting. This means PP plastic containers do not risk leaching into their contents and are therefore safe for storing foods and drinks for human consumption.

    Type 6: PS

    Polystyrene, or PS, plastic is used in foam insulation, egg cartons, styrofoam drinking cups, and take-out containers.

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    Avoid using styrofoam materials for food and drink. This plastic is not safe when heated and does leach carcinogenic chemicals into food. Specifically, styrene can contaminate the contents. Styrene has been linked to an increased risk of lymphoma and leukemia. It has also been linked to lung tumors in lab animals. Even hot water and coffee served in styrofoam cups has been found to have increased levels of styrene. This plastic should not be utilized for long-term storage.

    Type 7: PC or Non-Labeled

    PC, Type 7, or any non-labeled plastic should be avoided whenever possible. This category is used to describe packages made of chemicals and resins that are not found in the previous six types of plastic. It is a hard, nearly unbreakable plastic. Polycarbonates contain bisphenol A (BPA) which leaches into container contents. Despite its dangers, it is often used for sports bottles, baby bottles, and water cooler bottles.

    Read Labels!

    Before purchasing any plastics, try to read the numbers and/or letters stamped on the bottom of the container. Try to avoid numbers 3, 6, and 7. Be careful with all plastic containers and don’t let them overheat or store food for too long. Glass containers are preferable.

    Featured photo credit: www.pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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    Amber Pariona

    EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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