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  1. #1
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    Default What Number is Your Plastic?

    As most of you who live or have lived in North America or Europe know, nearly every plastic container (including "styrafoam" -- polystyrene) or even lid or fastener you buy is now marked or stamped with a numeric code -- usually surrounded by a triangle or circle of arrows, and sometimes accompanied by initials (PET, PE, PP, PS, PVC, etc.) -- indicating which type of plastic resin the item was manufactured with. This so-called "SPI Code" also became commonly used in Brazil in the 1990s, and was promoted by industry in Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico, but has been slow to extend to the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean.

    When I lived in SD (95-99) I used to up-end all plastic containers I saw at the store to see if any of them were so marked. Of course, those items imported from the US, Canada and Europe tended to be, but I even found a few local brands and imports from Mexico with at least the number.

    I'd like to know if the situation has changed at all in the DR.

    Just for kicks, next time you bring home stuff from the supermarket or pharmacy, check the bottom of all products in plastic containers -- whether food, beverages, detergents, liquid soaps, toiletries/personal care products, even medicines. Does it have a number? If so, which one? Which products do, which don't? Are they particular brands? Any local products have them (if so, which ones)?

    I'd be particularly interested to know if any carry a numeric code other than "1", which stands for PET, and which kinds of products carry it.

    Thanks in advance for posting what you find!

    Best Regards,
    Keith


  2. #2
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    You mean not one of you resident in the DR has bought something in a plastic container lately? Not one??? No sodas? No shampoo? No aspirins? No cooking oil? No dishwashing liquid? None of those brightly colored cleaning liquids? No catsup? No sazon?

    What, you only drink beer, never wash your hair, dishes or home, don't cook, eat your food plain and simply endure headaches and hang-overs ujntil they pass on their own?????

  3. #3
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    Most everything in our house is PET or PETE - excepting one local soda bottle with nothing on it...

  4. #4
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    Disani Water bottle, a Coca Cola product has the triangle with a "1" inside with PETE below.

  5. #5
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    Thumbs up Thanks, guys!

    See, I knew at least Christa washed her hair! LOL

  6. #6
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    Agua crystal small bottle "1"

  7. #7
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    Keith you will find this only on imported stuff, and as well on some products that are made on licence here.. like some beauty products etc.
    Aspirins etc, is bought by the numbers here, so no jars..
    Alots of food is still packed in fundas or metalic jars.

    The only thing I can ever find in my home of local products( which my friends says is the place to hide in case of a war or hurricane... then you know I have food..:-) is on 1 bottle of cleaning liquid Mistolin, PET 1, and one of my sons body lotions JERGENS ( not local, but made here ) PET 2 and finally CRISTOL oil, PET 4.

    Nothing much is happening here.
    Last edited by carina; 01-11-2006 at 02:44 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith R
    See, I knew at least Christa washed her hair! LOL
    Yeah for sure - with shampoo in my own PET bottles...! I'm the wrong one to answer here Keith, as I also turn the bottle upside down before I buy it... !

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by carina
    Keith you will find this only on imported stuff, and as well on some products that are made on licence here.. like some beauty products etc.
    Aspirins etc, is bought by the numbers here, so no jars..
    Alots of food is still packed in fundas or metalic jars.

    The only thing I can ever find in my home of local products( which my friends says is the place to hide in case of a war or hurricane... then you know I have food..:-) is on 1 bottle of cleaning liquid Mistolin, PET 1, and one of my sons body lotions JERGENS ( not local, but made here ) PET 2.

    Nothing much is happening here.
    Hi Carina. Thanks for your response. Thanks in particular for helping me out with the name "Mistolin" -- in my old age, I remembered the colors, but not the name, even though I must bought it countless times....

    BTW, "2" is high density polyethylene (HDPE in English, PEAD in Spanish), not PET.

    Well, as some of your might suspect, I am asking this in preparation for a Green Team blog about waste and recycling. A key problem to confront in any proposal to start recommending recycling of plastics in ANY country is figuring out what's on the market, and teaching people the difference between the resins. You can't recycle PET with PVC or PP, and the way many bottles are made these days, it's hard for the average consumer or collector to know the difference by sight alone. The SPI Code, or something like it, can help with this task if used correctly (which it all too often is not, but that's another tale).

    When I was in SD this past August, I asked an environment official who shall go unnamed if the Ministry was contemplating requiring or getting industry to "voluntarily" adopt resin coding as a baby step toward facilitating plastics recycling. The reply I got was, "well, it's already here de facto, because we import so many things from places that use it like the US..."

    My DR experience in the past was, it use was very spotty -- even for imported products! But I did not have time to visit stores and take my own survey while in the DR to determine if this person was correct or just blowing smoke, and there exists zero available research on such things in the DR. So I figured, ask DR1ers....

    I'm willing to bet that most beverages will have the number stamped on the bottom, as the economies of scale for the bottlers just makes it more worth their while to use it in all markets...

    I'm curious to know how much HDPE and LDPE there is in the Dominican market, but without those stamps, and the lack of a plastics association in the DR to ask, it's hard to even guestimate. HDPE is imminently and economically recyclable.

    And what worries me is how much PVC there might be in containers there. I'm betting that is one number/mark you will not find on the bottom of your containers, but I strongly suspect is in the market there.

  10. #10
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    I have the bottle of contact lens solution I bought in the DR here at my desk at work. There is no triangle symbol at all on the bottom. Just the word: UNIONPAK the solution is from WASSER chemical and is solucion multiproposito. I have some more products at home Ill check later on for you.

    bob

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