Different Types of Plastic

Plastic is one of the most demanded and daily used product. We see or use in almost every day-to-day application. Plastic is very much important to human being. Can you imagine a day where you will not use any type of plastic material or plastic object? So it’s become important to know the different types of plastic.

Different types of plastic

Basically there are only two types of plastic:-

  • Thermoplastic and
  • Thermosets or Thermosetting plastic

Thermosets plastics

Thermosets plastics are hard and durable in nature, once the product is made it cannot be melted to make something else again. This type of plastic is used in the manufacturing of the aircraft parts, tires and the parts of the automobile.Acrylics; melamine, polyurethanes, polyesters, epoxies, and silicone are thermoset.


This types of plastic are easy to use in nature, we can melt this plastic multiple times to make something else.

Thermoplastics are rigid than thermoset and when you heat thermoplastic they return to their original shape. Polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon, and polycarbonate are best examples of thermoplastics. We all know Polyvinyl Chloride which is use in the wires. This PVC is nothing but one of the examples of the thermoplastic.

Above two are the basic types of plastic. But generally following seven type of plastic are used.This plastic have number identification associated with them. This number was introduced by the Society of the Plastics Industry in 1988 to help people know which plastics are recyclable and how to properly dispose of the others.   

#1: Polyethylene Terephthalate

Plastic mark with #1 are made with Polyethylene terephthalate and this type of plastic are recyclable and this plastics are used to make water bottles and soda bottles. Polyethylene Terephthalate sometimes absorbs odours and flavours from foods and drinks that are stored in them. These plastics are known to leach chemicals over time.

Polyethylene Terephthalate Water bottles

#2: High-density polyethylene (HDPE)

Plastic mark with #2 are made with High-Density Polyethylene . Products made from this plastic are very safe and are not known to transmit any chemicals into foods or drinks. HDPE  plastic products are commonly recycled. This plastic used to make Items like containers for milk, motor oil, shampoos and conditioners, soap bottles, detergents, and bleaches. It is NEVER safe to reuse  an HDPE bottle as a food or drink container if it didn’t originally contain food or drink.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) milk container

#3: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

Plastic mark with #3 are Polyvinyl Chloride. This plastic is sometimes recycled. This type of plastic is used for all kinds of pipes and tiles, but is most commonly found in plumbing pipes. This type of plastic can be harmful if come in contact with food items. So avoid this type of plastic for containing food.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe

#4: Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)

Plastic mark with #4 plastic are low-density polyethylene .This Low-Density Polyethylene plastic is sometimes recycled. This plastic is very healthy that tends to be both durable and flexible. This plastic is used to manufacture Items such as cling-film, sandwich bags, squeezable bottles, and plastic grocery bags are made from LDPE.

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) sandwich bag

#5: Polypropylene (PP)

Plastic mark with #5 are Polypropylene . This plastics are occasionally recycled.This plastic is strong and can usually withstand higher temperatures. Polypropylene  is used to make lunch boxes, margarine containers, yogurt pots, syrup bottles, prescription bottles. Plastic bottle caps.

Polypropylene (PP) yogurt pots

#6: Polystyrene (PS)

Plastic mark with #6 are Polystyrene. This plastic is commonly recycled, but is difficult to do. Polystyrene is used to make Items such as disposable coffee cups, plastic food boxes, plastic cutlery and packing foam.

Polystyrene (PS) plastic cutlery

#7: Polycarbonate

Plastic mark with #7 are polycarbonate. Polycarbonate plastics are difficult to recycle. Polycarbonate (PC) is used in baby bottles, compact discs, and medical storage containers.

Polystyrene (PS) baby bottles



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