Revolutionary plastic Fermentation Information

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EtOH603

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Hi All, I have been doing a lot of reading on brewing in plastic and it seems that most people agree that it is safe (non-plastic leaching/off-flavoring) to brew in plastic fermentors with the recycling symbol 1 or 2, but those with a 7 on them are "unsafe" do to their unknown constituents. I humbly disagree, based on the fact that I work for a pharmaceutical company that stores injectable drug substances in bottles bearing the 7. Just thought people may not want to write off # 7s after all. Please let me know what other people find as it could make new fermenters significantly less expensive...
 

DrDuckbutter

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I have decided that no one can factually tell me if a recycle # of 1, 2, 7 or even a plastic garbage can bearing no symbol will in fact kill me before my liver stops...I think it is safe to say that fermenting, primary, secondary, long term storage can be achieved in almost anything... If a milk jug is good enough to store moonshine in, then all of Virginia can't be wrong...
 

mattd2

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I think the issue is #1-6 are a defined type of plastic, i.e. HDPE/LDPE/PP/PE/etc. Number 7 from memory is the catch all number for "other" plastics that are in 1-6. Therefore you could be fine (as in you situation for the drug containers) or you might not... no one could tell you by just saying "yeah, that #7 is all good"
 

copyright1997

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Hi All, I have been doing a lot of reading on brewing in plastic and it seems that most people agree that it is safe (non-plastic leaching/off-flavoring) to brew in plastic fermentors with the recycling symbol 1 or 2, but those with a 7 on them are "unsafe" do to their unknown constituents. I humbly disagree, based on the fact that I work for a pharmaceutical company that stores injectable drug substances in bottles bearing the 7. Just thought people may not want to write off # 7s after all. Please let me know what other people find as it could make new fermenters significantly less expensive...
The code used on plastic has nothing to do with whether the FDA considers it food-grade.

I will repeat. The code 1 (PET, polyethylene terephthalate), 2 (HDPE, high density polyethylene), 3 (V = polyvinyl chloride, or PVC), 4 (LDPE, low density polyethylene), 5 (PP, polypropylene), 6 (PS, polystyrene), 7 (other) describe categories of plastic, not whether it is food grade. Since different plastics have differing properties, e.g. ability to handle acidic substances,

Food-grade plastic does not contain plastic or dyes considered harmful to humans.

You can find recycled plastics used for food-grade plastic, but the FDA has some pretty tough guidelines. One of the major issues is that the previous use of the plastic may have had chemical or biological contaminants which could find their way into food-contact situations (or in our case, wort or gran contact situations). Here's the FDA guidelines: Guidance for Industry: Use of Recycled Plastics in Food Packaging: Chemistry Considerations


Rant on: I've seen a s__t load of threads on using cheap buckets from various sources. Places like the HD "Homer" buckets. I really don't understand the point when it is fairly easy to go out and get "known good" buckets!
1. Go to a bakery, dunkin doughnuts or other places that get bulk supplies in food grade containers.
2 Go to a organic food market that sells things like agave or maple syrup in bulk. These come in food-grade containers.
3. Go to Walmart and buy the white buckets for $2.97. The ones from Encore plastics had been verified by the manufacturer to be food-grade.

I'm sure there are lots of people out there that say "Hey, I haven't gotten sick". Remember that many of the issues with things like heavy metals or chemical contamination won't show up for many, many years and will essentially be untraceable back to the fact that you used a homer or whatever bucket.

Well, maybe I should stop posting this stuff and just leave the sources for cheap, SAFE buckets to myself.
 

brewingmeister

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Haha. I love that sweaty drunk cornering Ben to say his one word.
Personally, besides airlocks they don't have a place in my brewery no matter what number or letters that surround them. Just a personal preference, that actually took years to complete, and it helps for cleaning and durability as well.
 

riromero

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Another issue besides being food safe is oxygen permeability. I think I remember this being a problem for all but a couple of plastic types.

But the real problem for me is finding a container of any plastic material that is 6.5 gallons or larger. Impossible for me outside of the homebrew suppliers.
 

audger

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If a milk jug is good enough to store moonshine in, then all of Virginia can't be wrong...
just because something physically works doesnt mean its fit for purpose. sure you can use duct tape to fix a broken windshield on your car. you can use an electrical cord as a belt to hold up your pants.

eating small amounts of lead, mercury, uranium, or smoking cigarettes isnt going to kill you immediately. it may not even have any effect for decades. but if your husband was diagnosed with blood cancer and given 3 weeks to live, how would you feel knowing that the last 20 years you have been giving him beer fermented in completely unsafe non-food grade containers? how would you feel wondering for the rest of your life if that was the cause. if you had spent the extra $30 on a fermentor that was definately non-toxic, they might have longer than 3 weeks to live... instead you saved $4! woohoo.

no one gives a **** about that scenario untill the time comes and there is no longer anything you can do to fix it. now- is that a worst case, and unlikely, scenaro? sure. the risk of something like that happening is small, but the consequinces if it does happen are large enough that you should not be ignoring it.

if you really dont care, then go nuts. this is America and you are free to ferment beer in an old used rusty steel garbage can if you so choose. it will physically work.
 

audger

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I humbly disagree, based on the fact that I work for a pharmaceutical company that stores injectable drug substances in bottles bearing the 7. Just thought people may not want to write off # 7s after all. Please let me know what other people find as it could make new fermenters significantly less expensive...
just because it is used for one purpose does not mean its definately ok for any other purpose.

the #7 designates that its either pure polycarbonate (both virgin and recycled polycarbonates are marked #7), or its a catch-all designation of a recycled mixture of unknown plastics. almost all polycarbonate contains BPA (there are a few less common formulations that specifically avoid using BPA for health reasons, while sacrificing some physical properties that BPA provides). this is why #7 plastics should be avoided, or at least limited, for food use. plastics of unknown origin should also be avoided for food use for obvious reasons.

virgin #7 plycarbonate would be fine for use with injectable drugs due to the fact that the small amount of BPA that could leech into the drug is a very insignificant amount to the body. you arent injecting many gallons of a drug into you. you are injecting a few mL at most. IV interferons, saline and blood transfusions are specifically not stored in polycarbonate because they are injected in much higer volumes, and can carry much higher loads of BPA contaminants into the body.

PVC is used for saline and blood transfusions because, eventhough it has many dangerous chemicals, none readily leech out at or below room/body temperature, which the products are normally used at. this is the exact same reason why some containers that may be rated as "food grade" for storing cold foods would not be food-grade, and can even be dangerous, when heated.

http://www.plasticfreebottles.com/pdf/Understanding-Plastic-Codes.pdf
 

DrDuckbutter

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based on this chart, it seems logical that #2 plastics are the best of the plastics...and im sure that someone will argue that plastic is O2 permeable, but then whats to say:
1) the bung on your glass carboy is air tight?
2) that the amount of O2 entering your wine/beer is significant to institute a detectable flavor profile that is "off"?
3) we have nothing better to argue about?

I can appreciate that glass is the best...but why cant someone design a carboy with a larger opening to primary fruit wines easier?? exactly! so buckets then??
 

muph

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#3 & #7 plastics may contain BPA which can leach into the beer, so should be avoided IMO. BPA (Bisphenol A) is an endocrine disruptor, which can mimic the body's own hormones and may lead to negative health effects.

Resin identification code

Bisphenol A (BPA)

Look on the bottom of whatever plastic container you are using, it will have a recycle symbol with a number in the middle, you can use the first link to identify the plastic. There is an exception, I have two 5 gallon water bottles that are #7 which I use because they say in big letters "Does not contain BPA".
 
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