The last category includes all the diverse group of plastic resins that have not been included in the previous six groups. Sometimes, this group includes plastics that are mixed with kinds of plastics and maybe bioplastics. The most well known and widely used kind of plastic in this group is ‘Polycarbonate’.
Polycarbonate and other plastics serve a wide range of purposes they can be used for. It is widely used in many Tupperware products, water bottles, bulletproof materials, sunglasses, iPod and mobile covers, computer cases, fiberglass, sign and displays, nylon, some food containers, squeeze ketchup bottles and even baby bottles. It is thermoplastic which means it changes shape when exposed to heat. It has a very low recycle rate quality, which means it is really difficult to recycle this plastic. Most of the plastics in this group are very hard materials and cannot be recycled. Some recyclers have started taking some plastics in this group
Polycarbonate is infamous for its health hazards. It is known to leach out many harmful hormone disrupting chemicals. When exposed to high temperatures, polycarbonate starts to break down and leaches BPA (Bisphenol A) which puts the babies at risk of development and growth disruptions as baby bottles, used to feed them are made from this plastic. Other effects on human health include, damage to female ovaries, reduction in sperm production, disrupted neurological mechanisms, metabolic disorders and infertility, increased risk of cancers.
Other than harmful effects on human health, use of these plastics is also bad for the environment. When incinerated, it releases pollutants in all three phases, solid, liquid and gaseous. It releases Volatile Organic Compounds in the atmosphere and pollutes the air we breathe. It leaches harmful chemicals like BPA into soil that seep into water sources and pollute it as well as the organisms in those water bodies. It also disrupts the hormonal functions in other living organisms.
There are new developments in bioremediation where a fungus species is found to be able to biodegrade polycarbonate. However, it is better to avoid use of this plastic entirely.
This is the last Wlog in this series. If you have not yet, please check out my previous Wlogs in this series discussing the plastics from Recycling codes 1 through 6 ( PETE, HDPE, PVC , LDPE , Polypropylene and Polystyrene).
In this series, learn about the different resins codes and how we can classify plastics by looking at them. Resin codes are the symbols which help classify plastics while recycling and help you make a safe choice while buying plastic products. The purpose of this series is to educate readers, so that they can make wiser decisions while shopping and opt for plastic alternatives or safe plastics.
Now that we have come to the end of this series, we would love to read your feedback on these Wlogs. Do share your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org