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Types of Plastic and What They Mean for Your Health

July 10, 2023

Our Plastic Awareness Month newsletter series is focused on raising awareness about the different types of plastic and their effects on human health. The series will consist of four articles, which will be released once a week throughout July. Each article will cover examples of how plastic impacts our health, offering helpful tips and information to encourage readers to reduce plastic pollution for healthier living.

You might be surprised to learn that there is more than just one type of plastic. In fact, there are 7 different types depending on the product it is used for. As research grows on the negative implications of plastic, consumers must become well-versed in the various names plastics can be hiding behind.

You can typically identify the type of plastic by finding the recycle emblem. This symbol should contain a number 1 through 7 to let you know which type is used. The 7 different types of plastic include [1]:

  1. Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) – This is typically a clear plastic found in most single-use/disposable food containers and cleaning supplies. It is considered relatively safe however, you should avoid reheating products that use this type of plastic as potential toxins can leach into your foods.

  2. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) – This type of plastic is typically opaque and can be found in products such as milk jugs, butter containers, and laundry detergent bottles. This type of plastic is considered safe and has less risk of leaching compared to plastic #1.

  3. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – This plastic is commonly used in food wraps, shower curtain liners, and plumbing pipes. This type of plastic is not safe for heating and is typically not accepted by recycling programs. It contains toxins that might interfere with hormones. Taking a high-quality probiotic, like ProvenMD’s Probiotics, can improve gut health, and in turn, help balance hormones.

Probiotics is a unique probiotic formula designed to deliver active organisms shown to promote healthy gut microflora, protect intestinal integrity and boost immune function. Included in this formula is Saccharomyces boulardii, an extensively researched microorganism shown to help restore microflora balance by enhancing commensal organism function.


  • Enhances Immune System Function
  • Maintains a Healthy Gut-Immune Barrier
  • Maintains Normal Inflammatory Balance
  • Supports Digestion and Micronutrient Absorption
  • Maintains Gastrointestinal Health

4. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) – LDPE is the type of plastic used in some food wraps, bread bags, and most grocery store plastic bags. This type of plastic wreaks havoc on the environment and is not accepted by most recycling programs. For this reason, it’s encouraged to use reusable grocery bags or reuse your plastic grocery bags as much as you can before you throw them away.

5. polypropylene (PP) – PP is found in most “microwave-safe” plastic products as well as yogurt containers, and condiment bottles. It is considered safe and accepted by most recycling programs however, it is recommended to avoid using in the microwave for products that contain this type of plastic despite being labeled as “microwave-safe.”

6. Polystyrene (Styrofoam) – This type of plastic is mostly found in food storage containers such as to-go containers you might get from a restaurant. This type of plastic is not safe to heat as it can leach harmful toxins into food products. It is difficult to recycle and does not break down quickly.

7. “Everything else” - Number 7 is considered plastics that do not fall into the other categories and can include BPA, a known carcinogen that can be found in some water bottles and other plastic food containers [2].