A Beginner’s Guide To The Seven Different Types Of Plastic
Everywhere you look these days there’s so much plastic; from the clothes you’re wear to the toys your children play with to the plastic bottles you drink out of. It’s estimated that in all of human existence, more than nine billion tons of plastic have been produced.
When it comes to manufacturing, plastic is one of the most widely used materials and there are seven different types:
- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
- Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
- Polypropylene (PP)
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
- Polystyrene or Styrofoam (PS)
- Miscellaneous plastics such as styrene, nylon and fiberglass among others)
Now that you know the different types of plastic, here’s a closer look at each of them and what they’re used for:
- PET: This is recyclable and used to make plastic bottles, rope, carpet and textiles among other things.
- HPDE: This type of plastic is also recyclable and it used to make things like milk jugs, detergent containers and motor oil containers.
- PVC: This is usually recyclable and is used in piping, for window frames, for gutters and in plumbing.
- LDPE: This is also usually recyclable and can be found in container lids, frozen food bags, sandwich bags and squeeze bottles.
- PP: This are non-recyclable and found in things such as take-out containers, disposable dishware and prescription bottles.
- PS: This is also non-recyclable and is found in packing foam, packing peanuts and some plastic food boxes.
- Miscellaneous: This one is non-recyclable and can be found in eye glasses, lighting fixture, baby bottles and medical storage containers.
While many kinds of plastics are used in manufacturing goods, polyethylene or polythene also known as PE is the most commonly used plastic with annual production of about 80 million tons. When it comes to thermoplastic polymers, PET is the most commonly used in the world. Chances are you know PET by a different name: polyester.
As mentioned above, polyester is found in everything and it has many qualities that make it so popular with industrial plastic distributors. With its strength, resistance to water and the fact that it’s shatterproof, polyester is widely used in many areas of manufacturing. For industrial plastic distributors and plastic raw material distributors, polyester is easy to find and always in high demand.
Polyester was originally used by chemists in the 1940s and has grown into one of the world’s most highly sustainable materials, which also has a positive environmental profile. It’s widely used by bottling company such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, was not immediately accepted as a viable option for packaging and bottling. Since it is so widely used today, the global demand for it is more than 50 million metric tons, which means many a raw plastic distributor and industrial plastic distributors can make a profit supplying manufacturers who need it.
It’s important to remember that PET or polyester is known for:
- The fact that it’s shatterproof
- Its resistance to water and food (a big reason why it’s ideal in food packaging)
- Impressive strength despite being a lightweight material
- The fact that it is naturally transparent
So why is it so beloved by manufacturers, industrial plastic distributors and plastic distribution services? Aside from being readily available, its collective properties make it perfect when it comes to producing items for mass consumption. Adding polyester to fabrics for clothing adds strength and helps make clothing more resistant to tearing and wrinkling. Since it doesn’t react to water or food, it’s widely used in some forms of food packaging.
It’s important to note that PET is available in many different forms and has different names depending on how it’s used. Polyester is used for naming when referring to PET in textiles. When it’s used for food and beverage packaging, it’s commonly known as PET resin.
A raw plastic distributor can also supply PET for a number of other uses including CNC machining, 3-D printing and injection molding. Its flexibility and strength allow it to be easily malleable for whatever a manufacturer might need to use it for.
Whatever your manufacturing needs are, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) offers plenty of advantages with natural strength and lightness, natural transparency, resistance to water and being shatterproof. For those reasons and many others, it can be described as the perfect manufacturing material.