Help or harm? Know your plastics.

Ever wondered what the little number inside the triangle on your plastic means? You should! Find out the types of plastics that are safe and the ones you want to avoid!
There are seven types of plastic, which we should all get to know, those that are safe to eat and drink from and those that are harmful to our health, even linked to cancer.

#1 Type Plastic: PET or Polyethylene Terephthalate

Water bottles, coke bottles, most beverage bottles in fact and they’re one of the top 4 worst plastic polluters.
These are not designed to last, plastic toxins are leaking into your drink and may be linked to cancer.
In Siem Reap you can recycle these bottles and should, however you’re better off not using them to begin with.

#2 Type Plastic: HDPE or High-Density Polyethylene – jowar

This plastic is hard, durable and can be used many times. It’s the least dangerous type of plastic.
It is possible to recycle it, but it isn’t yet being recycled in Cambodia, so this type of plastic is going to the landfill site.
If you need to use this one, then reuse, reuse, reuse!

#3 Type Plastic: PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

It is a soft plastic used for food wrap (like that stuff they put around the vegetables in the supermarkets), oil bottles and plastic piping for houses. PVC is poison and leaks into anything it’s in contact with.
It can’t be recycled.
Don’t use this type of plastic!

#4 Type Plastic: LDPE or Low-Density Polyethylene

For example, plastic food wraps, bread bags and plastic shopping bags (tong plastic).
It is reusable and less toxic than some plastic but shouldn’t come into contact with hot things as it will melt easily – eg if you put hot soup into tong plastic, the melted plastic will go into your soup and you’ll eat it.
This type of plastic can’t be recycled in Cambodia but Rehash Trash can take your plastic shopping bags to make into useful items such as drink coasters and small bowls.
Best not to use these anyway, a cotton bag is much better for your groceries or a glass jar for your soup!

#5 Type Plastic: PP or Polypropylene

It is a thin but tough plastic, used for some food packaging and for plastic cups to drink your ice tea or water and the local noodle place.
It is safe and reusable.
It cannot be recycled in Cambodia yet.

#6 Type Plastic: PS or Polystyrene

It is a cheap and nasty plastic.
Used for take away food and for soups – often used at house parties to avoid washing a lot of dishes – but BEWARE – this is very poisonous and it leaks into your food. You should definitely never have hot food out of polystyrene. Use of chan snour/styrofoam has been linked to cancer.
Wash some extra dishes and don’t poison your body or your family.
This is not able to be recycled in Cambodia and will exist for around 500 years!
ថ្ងៃទី ៦ នៃប្លាស្ទិក៖
PS រឺ Polystyrene – ថេាក និង ប៉ះពាល់យ៉ាងខ្លាំងដល់សុខភាព។
ុយេីងប្រេីវាសំរាប់ដាក់ម្ហូប និង សម្ល ដូចជាន

#7 Type Plastic: Everything else – BPA, LEXAN and Polycarbonate.

This was a shocking discovery, I’ll be checking the blue bottle for more information, if BPA Free then not as awful but this looks worrying…
These plastics imitate the estrogen hormone which causes many issues for women and has presented major health, learning and developmental problems for children.
Avoid at all costs.