Egg Boxes

Most Plastic Egg Cartons are made from Plastic #1 - Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET).


Food Utensils

Food utensils including cups, forks, knives, plates, spoons are made from different petroleum-based plastics. They are typically made from polypropylene and polystyrene.



Coffee stirrers are generally made from polypropylene.


Food Service Products

Products including lids, caps, stoppers and other closures made from polypropylene or polystyrene are common items that are now banned.


Drinking straws

Plastic drinking straws are typically made from polypropylene.


Petro-based Plastic Bags

Including sacks and bags of polymers of ethylene and other plastic bags are typically made from one of three basic types: high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), or linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). Those thick, glossy shopping bags from the mall are LLDPE, while grocery bags are HDPE, Even some bags labeled as "Biodegradable" are made from polythene and polypropylene combinations. They don't biodegrade but simply break down into smaller fragments of petroleum-based plastics.


Barbados is a small island on  the frontlines of climate  impacts. Life on our island is characterized by periods of intense rainfall and intense droughts. Intense heat that is mixed with intense rain on a  tiny land mass is the perfect pelau for plastics to do their worst on the ocean that envelopes us.

In a study done by the Coastal Zone Management Unit, it was found that it takes a plastic bag approximately two weeks to travel from the middle of the island to the ocean.

Barbados struggles with illegal disposal of waste. Including dumping of municipal waste in waterways and daily littering in communities across the island. After plastics are improperly disposed of, they are temporarily stored at heightened temperatures in different habitats and urban pathways. While heated, the petrochemicals that lie dormant in these plastics become active and can be leached out into soils, surrounding areas and adjacent materials. Once activated, these petrochemicals become harmful.

The thing that threatens the oceans is when we have periods of intense rain. The dormant natural waterways  gullies) and man-made drains become busy highways for petrochemical traffic. Along with nutrients from the soils, petrochemical leachate, is transferred over land to ocean and down, through the soil and limestone to our aquifers. Also, the discarded plastic bags, old bottles and straws all become mobile as gravity and hydraulic action move waters from elevated areas to the lowest point of our island, the beachfront. 

At this point, plastics smother and choke the species that they cover, poison the animals that unwittingly feed on them and leave painful reminders of our lawless habits all over the sea floor.

Petro-based plastics are a manufacturing marvel. They are pliable, affordable and they can last for a very, VERY, long time.

However harmful chemical additives are used to give plastic products peak performance properties. These chemicals have harmful environmental and human health impacts. These effects include

  • Direct toxicity, as in the cases of lead, cadmium, and mercury
  • Carcinogens, as in the case of diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)
  • Endocrine disruption, which can lead to cancers, birth defects, immune system suppression and developmental problems in children.

Source- petroleum service company - Nov 2016

The numbers within the triangles on plastic containers help to identify the type of plastic (resin) used. This is known as the ASTM International Resin Identification Coding System (RIC).

In 1988, the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) established a classification system to help both consumers and recyclers properly dispose of and recycle the many different kinds of plastic based on chemical makeup. RIC has been administered by ASTM International since 2008.

Codes range from 1-7. Here is a basic outline of the different plastics associated with each number:

#1 —PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

PET plastic  inis found most water bottles. The raw materials for PET are derived from crude oil and natural gas. PET is generally considered a “safe” plastic, and does not contain BPA. However the presence of heat it can leach antimony, a toxic metalloid, into food and beverages, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach ulcers. 

#2 —HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)

HDPE is used to make a variety of products, including milk jugs, toys, and plastic lumber. It is both reusable and recyclable. Like PET, it is also considered “safe,” but has been shown to leach estrogenic chemicals dangerous to fetuses and juveniles.

#3 —PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

PVC is commonly used to make plumbing pipes, pool toys, and vinyl records. PVC is reusable and recyclable, but it is recycled less frequently than the above plastics. PVC contains a phthalate called DEHP, which can cause male traits to become more feminized (DEHP-containing products have been banned in many countries.

#4 —LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene)

LDPE is often used to make shrink wraps, squeezable bottles, and bread bags. This plastic is reusable, but is not commonly recycled. LDPE does not contain BPA, but as with most plastics, it can leach estrogenic chemicals.

#5 —PP (Polypropylene)

PP is commonly used to make disposable diapers, plastic bottle caps, chip bags, straws, and rope, to name a few. PP actually has a high heat tolerance and as such, does not seem to leach many of the chemicals other plastics do.

#6 —PS (Polystyrene)

PS is most commonly known as Styrofoam as is often used to make drinking cups, egg cartons, plastic cutlery, and take-out containers. Polystyrene can leach styrene, a suspected carcinogen, especially in the presence of heat.

#7 — Other

“Other” plastics are all those not defined by the other 6 codes. These types of plastics, which include polycarbonate, polylactide, acrylic, and nylon. These miscellaneous plastics are used to make some bottles, safety glasses, clothing, and headlight lenses. Any plastic designated #7 is likely to leach BPA and/or BPS, both potent endocrine disruptors linked to interfering with proper mood, growth, development, sexual function, reproductive function, and puberty, among other essential human developmental processes. They are also suspected of increasing the risk of adult reproductive cancers, obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Compostable plastics (made from bio-based polymers such as corn starch) are also included in this category. They will have a designation “PLA” and may also say “Compostable.”