Plastic codes

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Plastic codes

Postby Tater » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:43 am

The most common plastics have a resin code in a chasing arrow symbol (often found on the bottom of the product).

1 PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate): AVOID
Common Uses: Soda Bottles, Water Bottles, Cooking Oil Bottles
Concerns: Can leach antimony and phthalates.

2 (High Density Polyethylene): SAFER
Common Uses: Milk Jugs, Plastic Bags, Yogurt Cups

3 PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride, aka Vinyl): AVOID
Common Uses: Condiment Bottles, Cling Wrap, Teething Rings, Toys, Shower Curtains
Concerns: Can leach lead and phthalates among other things. Can also off-gas toxic chemicals.

4 LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene): SAFER
Common Uses: Produce Bags, Food Storage Containers

5 PP (Polypropylene): SAFER
Common Uses: Bottle Caps, Storage Containers, Dishware

6 PS (Polystyrene, aka Styrofoam): AVOID
Common Uses: Meat Trays, Foam Food Containers & Cups
Concerns: Can leach carcinogenic styrene and estrogenic alkylphenols

7 Other this is a catch-all category which includes:
PC (Polycarbonate): AVOID - can leach Bisphenol-A (BPA). It also includes ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), SAN (Styrene Acrylonitrile), Acrylic, and Polyamide. These plastics can be a safer option because they are typically very durable and resistant to high heat resulting in less leaching. Their drawbacks are that they are not typically recyclable and some need additional safety research. New plant-based, biodegradable plastics like PLA (Polylactic Acid) also fall into the #7 category.
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby Odin » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:45 am

Great post Tater,

Thank you very much! Very helpful for newcomers (or oldtimers with old habits that never die).

:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

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Re: Plastic codes

Postby Samohon » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:00 am

+2, Great info T...

I've said it before and I'll say it again...
Why does bottled water have an expiry date? Because the chemicals from the PET plastic leeches into the water through time...
So what would >40%abv do to a PET bottle...? Guess most here know the answer to that one...
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby Bayou-Ruler » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:03 am

Samohon wrote:+2, Great info T...

I've said it before and I'll say it again...
Why does bottled water have an expiry date? Because the chemicals from the PET plastic leeches into the water through time...
So what would >40%abv do to a PET bottle...? Guess most here know the answer to that one...



Thats a good question, you would think the FDA would have checked that out.
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby Bushman » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:13 am

Thanks for the codes and explanation of their intended use, very helpful!
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby blind drunk » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:15 am

Good idea, Tater. We're our own global FDA ...
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby Washashore » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:19 am

Thanks Tater, out on the jobsite I drink out of used 1 gallon cranberry juice jugs.....now it's all starting to make sense!!
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby mtdew_mn » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:28 pm

Tater,

Are you saying that PET should be avoided for fermentation containers? How about "Better-Bottles"?

My understanding for fermentation the large PET bottles were safe....

Also, do you have a source for the levels of antomony and phthalates in PET?
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby astronomical » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:36 pm

Wheres the "safe" "safest" and ummmm "saferer"?... Only the best for my booze
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby frozenthunderbolt » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:35 am

You need No 2 HDPE SPECIFICALLY MARKED AS FOODGRADE to ferment in. Full stop.

Anything else can leach shit into the wash. Must be marked food grade as there is no.2 (HDPE) that is manufactured using toxic mold release compounds that don't simply wash off. :sick:
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby Ian Jay » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:38 am

Ethanol to 95%
Chemical Resistance of Plastics

http://www.tedpella.com/company_html/Pl ... stance.htm

Not a recommendation, for information only.
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby mtdew_mn » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:56 pm

You need No 2 HDPE SPECIFICALLY MARKED AS FOODGRADE to ferment in. Full stop.


I agree you need to use foodgrade plastics.. but my question is there a reason that FDA approved PET foodgrade containers aren't safe for fermenting? (besides your say-so).

http://www.better-bottle.com markets their PET bottle for fermenting and from the documentation they list it certainly seems safe for that.

But if there's something they are neglecting to mention as far as safety goes, I'd be interested in hearing about it.
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby blanikdog » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:22 pm

mtdew-mn, you're quite at liberty to use whatever you want to use. We all (mostly) live in free countries and it's your body and nobody on the forum cares how you poison it.

This information is posted to inform members of what we perceive to be the SAFEST way to engage in this craft. Better bottles are after our money so it makes sense that they will say that they are safe. It really is up to you to do the research and decide which route to travel. Asking a forum member to give information about a product which the marketer claims to be OK is not the way we do it. Perhaps you should give the forum the reasons why their product is OK?

The advice posted is in the interest of SAFETY. There are other forums that maybe don't consider this aspect as strongly as we do, but until we see evidence that this product is 100% safe we will continue to offer information which will enable forum members to make their own decisions, even if you do consider it to simply be "say so"!

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Re: Plastic codes

Postby Tater » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:27 pm

mtdew_mn wrote:Tater,

Are you saying that PET should be avoided for fermentation containers? How about "Better-Bottles"?

My understanding for fermentation the large PET bottles were safe....

Also, do you have a source for the levels of antomony and phthalates in PET?
Aint saying shit :esurprised: just posting some info I found wondering the net.Your the only one that can decide what ya want to put into your body
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby aqua vitae » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:27 pm

Great informative post Tater! :thumbup:

It's best to inform new user that there is different kinds of plastic.
If you tell a newbie "all plastic is bad 'cause I say so" he might not care about the types and start using PVC cans or something.
With this info out there hopefully everyone avoid those types known to be unsafe.

Samohon wrote:I've said it before and I'll say it again...
Why does bottled water have an expiry date? Because the chemicals from the PET plastic leeches into the water through time...


Mostly because some states require all food and beverages, including bottled water, to state an expiration date on the label.

Also because if you don't drink the water by that date you have to go out and buy a new bottle, thus creating more profit for the company which sold you the water.

And also because water if kept enclosed for a prolong period allows anaerobic algae and other microbes to grow in it;making it unsafe and unfit for potable use. Hence, pouched water possesses an expiration date on it.
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby mtdew_mn » Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:54 pm

I appreciate this forums concern for safety, and I in fact share it. My questioning on PET was based on the fact that I do want to be safe, and my understanding is PET is as least as safe as HDPE.

Each material has trade offs.. If you eschew all plastics, and use only glass for containers you risk glass breaking. So as far trade offs it seems to be the chance of a glass container breaking some poison in the container (besides the poison we want—ethanol).

If anyone is interested in making an informed decision on PET, here’s some references that show that PET is safe for fermentation containers:

The International Life Sciences Institute has stated in a 2000 report:

Substances which migrate readily are usually low molecular weight and volatile. Food-grade PET
essentially contains only very high molecular weight species with little or no migration propensity,
so actual migration is minuscule. However, the slightest interactions are now detectable by
sophisticated analytical techniques, and monitoring of migration is relatively easy. Many studies
have been made on PET and have always given a reassuring picture.

It also states that there are no antimony concerns with PET:

PET itself is biologically inert if ingested, is dermally safe during handling and
is not a hazard if inhaled. No evidence of toxicity has been detected in feeding
studies using animals. Negative results from Ames tests and studies into
unscheduled DNA synthesis indicate that PET is not genotoxic. Similar studies conducted with
monomers and typical PET intermediates also indicate that these materials are essentially non
toxic and pose no threats to human health [9].
One particular widely used additive, antimony trioxide, has given cause for concern. However, a
new and very comprehensive and detailed animal feeding study concludes that there is no risk
arising from the use of antimony trioxide in PET products [10]. A diet containing up to 20g/kg of
antimony trioxide had no detectable toxic effects. Genotoxicity tests were also negative.

http://web.archive.org/web/200604211642 ... LSIPET.pdf

Also, antimony trioxide boils at 656 °C, so it would be hard for to distill out in any case.

As far as phthalates, The National Center for Biotechnology Information states:
Plastic beverage bottles sold in the United States are made from a type of plastic known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Although polyethylene terephthalate (the plastic) and phthalate (the additive) may have similar names, the substances are chemically dissimilar. PET is not considered an orthophthalate, nor does PET require the use of phthalates or other softening additives.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1367856/


The ATF allows alcohol in PET bottles at any strength:
http://www.ttb.gov/rulings/85-7.htm


Some other sites worth reading:

http://www.plasticsinfo.org/beveragebot ... ty_PET.pdf
http://www.medicinenet.com/plastic/page2.htm
http://www.better-bottle.com/
http://www.nibco.com/assets/ChemGuide.pdf
http://www.labsafety.com/refinfo/ezfacts/ezf213.htm

Finally, I want to assure that I'm not saying that everyone should use PET. I believe it is safe, but each person should make their own decision based on actual facts and not take anyone's word for it (especially from a newbie like me :) )
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby 100percent » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:30 pm

I am a novice at best and rushed into my first wash without even thinking about my container. Been reading and looked at my container and its a 5. Considered safe by the op. I want to be completely sure its safe before i go any further with it. Out of curiousity i looked at some of my liquor bottles and the lid on my southern comfort is a 3, considered not safe by the op.

I am wondering if my #5 is actually safe and why a #3 container cant be used to ferment (low abv liquids) b ut it can be used in higher abv beverages? Hope my container is ok as i have been fermenting for 5 days and would hate to have wasted my ingredients and my time.

thanks in advance!
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby mtdew_mn » Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:22 pm

I am wondering if my #5 is actually safe and why a #3 container cant be used to ferment (low abv liquids) but it can be used in higher abv beverages? Hope my container is ok as i have been fermenting for 5 days and would hate to have wasted my ingredients and my time.



Safe vs. not safe isn't really a cut and dried thing. As far as I know, PVC containers aren't allowed for alcohol in the US, but perhaps caps are considered ok.

Here's a site that explains the history about US regulations of sprits in PVC containers:
http://www.packaginglaw.com/2546_.shtml

That being said, if the container is food safe, then I don't think there's a safety problem in using it for fermenting.
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby 100percent » Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:29 pm

Hell with the worrying. I am going to ferment in one of my extra kegs.
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby ttocs » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:12 am

PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) - saw no mention of this so I thought I would add. While not typically used to make containers, it's commonly used as a food grade lining and would be considered to be in the "SAFER" category. Also used for the widely discussed PTFE Gasket.

I should also add that when arguing over to use or not to use these "SAFER" plastics, the rule I follow is the higher the alcohol content or the longer the storage, the less contact you want with plastic. I wouldn't ever store distillate in any type of plastic container but to ferment not really problem. The biggest thing to consider is any flavors/odors left behind. Various plastics have varying degrees of retaining flavors/odors. If you're making a flavored liquor (pot still) I'd avoid fermenting in plastics unless you plan to always make the same wash.

When making beer, it's very common to do primary fermentation in plastic and then transfer to glass carboy. Primary ferment usually lasts a week and secondary lasts 1-6 months depending on what you're making. You'd never want to do a 6 month secondary/age in any type of plastic. No reason the same wouldn't apply to a wash.
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby white_likker1 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:18 pm

Tater I Know we are not supposed to use Plastic, but what is your take on the PET bottles that large distilleries are using?
Chew on this: In 1920 During Prohibition, President Harding kept the White House well stocked with bootleg liquor.
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby jake_leg » Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:42 am

Last time I was on a plane I had a Johnny Walker miniature in a plastic bottle. It said PETE on the bottom which I think is the same stuff as PET and had recycling code 1.
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby jake_leg » Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:47 am

mtdew_mn wrote:The ATF allows alcohol in PET bottles at any strength:
http://www.ttb.gov/rulings/85-7.htm


That link mentions only polyethylene, not PET.
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby Tater » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:56 am

white_likker1 wrote:Tater I Know we are not supposed to use Plastic, but what is your take on the PET bottles that large distilleries are using?
Personally I think they want to sell you their swill at the least cost to themselves.Anything they want to use their lobbyist will buy its approval from the appropriate people.Look at history of cigarets .Cigarette company's took several years to bow down to fact they were killing people with their products.Ads with Dr.s approvals for them were around when I was a kid.(don't smoke now but enjoyed them for 33 years4 packs a day for 22 of them ). So for me bottom line is glass been around forever hasn't anyone died from using it far as I know.Plastics however if ya can believe what scientist who don't work for plastic industry fokes are saying is that plastics and their compounds are showing up in the food chain as well as in our bodies.Is it hurting us ? I don't know.But in my hobby at least I like the idea that I'm making and storing my product using safest things I know to use .Might not be much but it servers a need for my satisfaction in this small thing. :)
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby rad14701 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:33 am

Here is the official ruling on PET... This, however, is not an endorsement by these forums for the use said products... A quick Google search will provide both pros and cons for individuals to make their own determinations... I, personally, will not use them even for drinking proof spirits...

ATF Ruling 82-12

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been requested to approve the use of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as a suitable material for the manufacturer of liquor bottles.

Section 5301(a) of Title 26, United States Code, provides that the Secretary may regulate the kind of containers designed or intended for use in the sale of distilled spirits. Sections 19.11, 194.11, 250.11 and 251.11 of Title 27, Code of Federal Registrations, provide for liquor bottles to be made of glass or earthenware or of other suitable material approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which has been designed or is intended for use as a container for distilled spirits for sale for beverage purposes and which has been determined by the Director to adequately protect the revenue.

The Bureau is aware of the need to recognize advancing technology which provides materials adaptable or developed for packaging distilled spirits. At the same time, the Bureau is aware of its responsibilities for protecting the Federal excise tax revenues, as prescribed by the Internal Revenue Code (Title 26, U.S.C., Chapter 51); for insuring an orderly marketplace, in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (Title 27, U.S.C., section 205(e)); and for protecting the environment, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (Title 42, U.S.C., section 4332).

The Bureau recognizes that, in some minor instances, a proof gain of up to two degrees of proof per year (and a corresponding water volume loss) may occur. However, this effect can be minimized by avoiding high storage temperatures, by insuring that the wall thickness of PET containers is uniform, and by insuring market turnover. In any event, ATF has concluded that this characteristic of PET packaging poses no jeopardy to the revenue because the taxable commodity, the alcohol, does not travel through the package wall. The quantity of alcohol does not change between the time of bottling and the point of tax determination. Therefore, it has been determined that the use of PET for liquor bottles provides adequate protection to the excise tax revenue and is a suitable material for this use.

The consumer obtains the same amount of alcohol contained in the product at the time of bottling, since only water is lost. Since the same amount of alcohol is contained in the product with only a very minor, if any, increase in proof, the label on the product provides adequate information to the consumer regarding alcohol content.

In accordance with the requirements imposed by the National Environmental Policy Act, the Bureau prepared an assessment of the projected effect on the environment of PET liquor bottles. The conclusion reached on the pertinent issues was that neither container use nor disposal would have a significant environmental impact.

Held, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) liquor bottles conforming to the following specifications may be used as containers for distilled spirits:

(1) The bottles must be rigid or semi-rigid with molded shape or design which cannot be altered by pressure without damage to the bottle, and the wall thickness of the bottle must be as uniform as possible;

(2) The bottle must be manufactured in an approved standard of fill; and

(3)The material used to construct the PET bottle must meet the Food and Drug Administration's health and safety specifications for the packaging of alcoholic beverages for consumption as promulgated in the Code of Federal Regulations.

27 CFR 19.11, 194.11, 250.11, 251.11
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby jake_leg » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:39 am

Thanks Rad. Angels must be pretty disappointed with their share.

I don't think I'll be putting spirit in Cola bottles any time soon either.
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby white_likker1 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:24 am

rad14701 wrote:Here is the official ruling on PET... This, however, is not an endorsement by these forums for the use said products... A quick Google search will provide both pros and cons for individuals to make their own determinations... I, personally, will not use them even for drinking proof spirits...

ATF Ruling 82-12

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been requested to approve the use of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as a suitable material for the manufacturer of liquor bottles.

Section 5301(a) of Title 26, United States Code, provides that the Secretary may regulate the kind of containers designed or intended for use in the sale of distilled spirits. Sections 19.11, 194.11, 250.11 and 251.11 of Title 27, Code of Federal Registrations, provide for liquor bottles to be made of glass or earthenware or of other suitable material approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which has been designed or is intended for use as a container for distilled spirits for sale for beverage purposes and which has been determined by the Director to adequately protect the revenue.

The Bureau is aware of the need to recognize advancing technology which provides materials adaptable or developed for packaging distilled spirits. At the same time, the Bureau is aware of its responsibilities for protecting the Federal excise tax revenues, as prescribed by the Internal Revenue Code (Title 26, U.S.C., Chapter 51); for insuring an orderly marketplace, in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (Title 27, U.S.C., section 205(e)); and for protecting the environment, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (Title 42, U.S.C., section 4332).

The Bureau recognizes that, in some minor instances, a proof gain of up to two degrees of proof per year (and a corresponding water volume loss) may occur. However, this effect can be minimized by avoiding high storage temperatures, by insuring that the wall thickness of PET containers is uniform, and by insuring market turnover. In any event, ATF has concluded that this characteristic of PET packaging poses no jeopardy to the revenue because the taxable commodity, the alcohol, does not travel through the package wall. The quantity of alcohol does not change between the time of bottling and the point of tax determination. Therefore, it has been determined that the use of PET for liquor bottles provides adequate protection to the excise tax revenue and is a suitable material for this use.

The consumer obtains the same amount of alcohol contained in the product at the time of bottling, since only water is lost. Since the same amount of alcohol is contained in the product with only a very minor, if any, increase in proof, the label on the product provides adequate information to the consumer regarding alcohol content.

In accordance with the requirements imposed by the National Environmental Policy Act, the Bureau prepared an assessment of the projected effect on the environment of PET liquor bottles. The conclusion reached on the pertinent issues was that neither container use nor disposal would have a significant environmental impact.

Held, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) liquor bottles conforming to the following specifications may be used as containers for distilled spirits:

(1) The bottles must be rigid or semi-rigid with molded shape or design which cannot be altered by pressure without damage to the bottle, and the wall thickness of the bottle must be as uniform as possible;

(2) The bottle must be manufactured in an approved standard of fill; and

(3)The material used to construct the PET bottle must meet the Food and Drug Administration's health and safety specifications for the packaging of alcoholic beverages for consumption as promulgated in the Code of Federal Regulations.

27 CFR 19.11, 194.11, 250.11, 251.11


At any rate, I'm gonna continue to use glass. I only have 1 other concern. I buy old looking but new pint jars with the snap top like the one below for my spirits. Is there any way to tell what the seal is made of or if it is safe for spirits?
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby rad14701 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:16 pm

white_likker1, that seal "should" be okay for drinking proof spirits (100 proof or under) but I would not trust it for higher proof spirits...
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby King Of Hearts » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:22 pm

I see some major distillers using plastic bottles. What the heck is the FDA & TTB good for? You know what. How many people has the FDA killed already?
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Re: Plastic codes

Postby heartcut » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:18 pm

The FDA has some of the best inspectors money can buy.
We haven't had a whole lot of experience in the long term effects of plastic in the food chain period, but there's a lot of it being ingested. Most likely, some is OK and some isn't. I mostly don't want to be one of the inadvertant guinea pigs, like with abestos or Meridia, so it looks like I'll have to live to be about 130 or so to see what's what.
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