Health and the environment: here is how many times a plastic bottle can be reused
While the world is activating for a more conscious consumption of plastic in favor of more sustainable materials, there is still a question that many people ask themselves: can plastic bottles be reused or are they bad for health?
Are plastic bottles safe?
Plastic bottles are produced with raw materials for food use, so from this point of view, there is no fear. Once this has been established, it is necessary to mislead a false myth: many think that the number found at the bottom of the plastic bottles or glasses represents the number of reusables allowed. In reality, that number represents the type of material the container is made of and it is necessary for the collection centers to properly dispose of the waste.
What we see on plastic water bottles is number 1, which identifies PET (polyethylene terephthalate), the lightest and most flexible type of plastic, which is used for most disposable containers. Although this plastic does not release substances that are harmful to health, the products packaged with it are nonetheless identified as disposable. As a result, by reusing them in the long term, they could lose their characteristics and be targeted by germs and bacteria more easily.
… and the environment?
After taking into consideration the safety of the material, the most important problem, that linked to the pollution of the environment, remains to be examined.
PET plastic is not biodegradable: the average life of these bottles is estimated at a good 1000 years. A very long period to spend on our planet, considering that most of the bottles are not collected for recycling and ends up directly in the sea.
The plastic emergency also involves large companies: some, such as Nestlé and Coca-Cola, have declared their intention to reduce the use of plastic in product packaging; others have embarked on a plastic-free route, such as NaturaSì, which has removed plastic bottles from its offer, in favor of water dispensers and loose glass bottles.
How often can you reuse a plastic bottle?
So let’s go back to the initial question: how many times can a plastic bottle be reused? The answer is: as little as possible, preferring other types of materials, such as glass or metal (washing them regularly), and using water bottles to prune water around with us. And if you happen to have no other choice, recycle properly or re-use the plastic bottle to give it new life.
Some idea? Cut the bottle in half: the upper part can become a funnel, while the lower part can be decorated. There are also those who use them to create mini-greenhouses for the cultivation of small seedlings, blades for gardening or bird feeders. The top for a plastic bottle? Help us recycle and dispose of other waste: a plastic bottle can in fact also be used to recover used oil, such as frying or preserving canned food, to transport it to the disposal center.