Plastic Bottle Codes

Most plastic bottles manufactured today are coded with a group of letters in a recycle symbol and maybe a number that defines the type of plastic it is made from and whether or not it is recyclable and contains BPA. Some letters are PETE, HDPE and others shown below.

The important numbers are #3 and #7 and should not be used for storing any type of consumable liquid. The spring water bottle below has a mark PETE with a 1 in the center.

This is important to those who wish to reuse them for other purposes. Plastic bottles can be reused for dried goods such as rice, beans, salt, sugar, etc. This will extend the life of the product and keep moisture and insects out. Liquids should be kept in its original retail container for long term storage and used before expiration date.

Some years back a chemical known as BPA (Bisphenol A.) was added to the plastic resin. It was later determined that BPA will leech out of the plastic and into any liquid in the container. The BPA was known to be a hormone disrupting compound. Most plastic water bottles contained BPA and after about a year or so of storage, it contaminated the water to a point it was dangerous to drink. Most spring water or purified water have a date code laser burned into the plastic stating when the water is no longer safe to drink.

Plastic drinking bottles should not be reused unless certain guidelines are adhered to. Mainly, if you refill the bottles, make sure they and the caps are clean and remove the little plastic remnants of the bottle cap just behind the threads of the bottle opening.

Bacteria and other germs collect there and can cause illness or sores on your lips. It is impossible to clean behind this plastic ring. Also do not store refilled bottles any longer than a month or so. And especially in bright sunlight which will accelerate the leeching process of BPA into the water. Never carry in the console of your vehicle or anywhere it gets hot.

Walmart sells empty plastic drinking bottles and they are advertised to be BPA free. The whole top of bottle can be removed for proper cleaning.

Also 7-11 stores sell their brand of bottled iced tea and other flavors marked with no BPA.

You can store beans and rice in 2 liter soda bottles indefinitely. I buy beans and rice in bulk 20-30 lb bags. I transfer the contents to the bottles and label the lids with its content and date I packed them. I still have over two dozen 2 liter bottles left of rice I packed before Y2K. I still use the rice and it still tastes like I just purchased it.

Sugar and salt can be stored this way too, however I'd rather use smaller containers because opening a 2 liter bottle often means exposing a larger contents to possibly damp air and fresh oxygen.

I transfer baking soda, corn starch, salt, and other powders in one pint canning jars. This will keep them from absorbing moisture and odors. Also keeping insects out. If you cut off the top of an orange juice carton, with the cap, cut it to fit a canning lid ban, you can dispense your powders easier.

If reusing five gallon buckets, make sure they are "food grade". NEVER use empty drywall compound or paint buckets which will contain dangerous chemicals that will migrate into the food you're storing. Three or five gallon food grade buckets can be purchased new for less than $10 and if you find a restaurant or bakery, they may give them to you. Make sure you get the original lids and make sure the rubber gamma gasket is still in the lid rim. Places like the bakery at Walmart may sell them to you for a dollar or so. Also Chick-fil-a has green dill pickle buckets you can usually get for free if you know someone that works there or you can talk to the manager. I once got ten buckets with lids for free. All I needed to do was wash them out and let them air dry for a few months to get the dill odor out of them.



Copyright 2022 Rick C. Ver 0.14 April 4, 2022