- Polyethylene Terephthalate(PET or PETE):
Common uses: Plastic bottles for soda, water, food, liquid soap, and lotion.
PET is Semi-rigid to rigid depending on container wall thickness. Good to fair chemical barrier; not good for strong acids or bases. Good alcohol and solvent barrier; good gas and fair moisture barrier. Good moldability. Sterilize through EtO and gamma radiation. PET bottles and jars have good stress crack and impact resistance at room temperature and above.
- High Density Polyethylene (HDPE):
Common uses: Plastic bottles and jars for cosmetic, food, milk, and detergent.
HDPE is flexible but more rigid than LDPE. Natural color is milky white, semi-translucent depending on density. Good impact strength and stress crack resistance. Good chemical resistance. HDPE plastic containers have a good vapor barrier, but make for a poor gas barrier. Sterilize via EtO or gamma radiation.
- Polyvinyl Chloride(PVC):
Common uses: Clear food and non food packaging, medical tubing, and wire insulation.
PVC is Flexible to rigid. Transparent to yellowish color in natural state. Good for coatings; fair water and good oxygen barrier. Good chemical resistance. Sterilizable by EtO. PVC bottles and jars have good impact and some stress crack resistance. Poor recycling due to chloride residues.
- Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE):
Common uses: Plastic bottles for honey, mustard, and bread or food bags.
LDPE is very flexible, natural milky color, translucent with high impact strength. Excellent for mild and strong buffers, good chemical resistance. LDPE plastic bottles have a good water vapor and alcohol barrier properties. Poor gas barrier, sterilize with EtO or gamma radiation. LDPE containers have good stress crack and impact resistance.
- Polypropylene (PP):
Common uses: Plastic containers for ketchup, yogurt, margarine, and medicine.
PP is a rigid, solid, durable in container or cap forms. Opaque, natural grayish yellow in natural form. Excellent stress crack and impact resistance. PP Bottles and jars have excellent moisture barrier, good oil and alcohol barrier, but poor gas barrier properties. Good chemical resistance. Sterilize with EtO or autoclaving.
- Polystyrene (PS):
Common uses: Packaging for CDs, aspirin bottles, cups, plates and cutlery.
PS is a transparent, rigid and glasslike polymer. Light and heat stable, biologically inert and non-toxic. Good resistance to inorganic chemicals. PS containers have good impact and stress crack resistance, but poor barrier properties. EtO or Gamma sterilize.
- Other Plastics:
Common uses : Plastic Bottles for squeezable Ketchup and syrup.
The miscellaneous classification includes plastic that may contain multiple layers of different types of materials, like the above plastics. Plastic bottles and containers form this group are not easily recyclable. Some plastic that fall under this code are poly carbonate, Polytetraflouroethylene and Teflon
NOTE: Two of the polymers above have different abbreviations then what is underneath the symbol: Polyvinyl Chloride is called PVC and is also commonly known as vinyl. The recycling code for PVC just uses the letter V. In the scientific community they call Polyethylene Terephthalate, "PET", but the recycling code is PETE because PET is a trademarked.
For more information about recycling, please visit these pages:
Plastic Container Recycling
Glass Container Recycling
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Saturday 25 May, 2013