About The Types Of Plastics
There are two main categories of plastics, namely thermoplastics and thermoset plastics.
Thermoset plastics are plastics known for their durability, resistance to high temperatures & chemicals, & very low impact resistance. These types of plastics once cured cannot be recycled.
Examples of thermoset plastics are silicone, epoxy or polyester resin, fibreglass.
Thermoplastics are plastics known for their high-impact resistance, hard crystalline or rubbery surface options, remolding & reshaping capabilities, & aesthetically pleasing finishes. These types of plastics are recyclable.
Codes Of Plastics
Code 1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
Drink bottles, medicine jars, Carpet Fibre, Clothing
Code 2: High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Milk, Shampoo's, Soap or Bleach bottles
Code 3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Code 4: Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Cling film, Plastic bags, Squeezable bottles
Code 5: Polypropylene (PP)
Yoghurt containers, Margarine containers, Plastic bottle caps
Code 6: Polystyrene (PS)
Disposable coffee cups, Plastic cutlery, Packing foam
Code 7: Other
Baby bottles, Compact discs,Water cooler bottles
Codes Of Plastics With Examples
Understanding The Codes
1: PET/ PETE
is well known as one of the most easily recycled plastics on the market. Most plastic water bottles are made from PET and when recycled they can be converted into items such as fiber-filler for duvets, carpeting, insulation, new packaging trays, or more water bottles.
2: HDPE/ PE-HD
are used in milk bottles and grocery bags this plastic is also considered safe for human use.
3: V/ PVC
these versatile plastics are used in everything from plumbing pipelines to shrink wrap. Known to contain DEHPs these plastics are considered toxic to humans.
4: LDPE/ PE-LD
famously known for bags, coffee cups, and “paper” milk cartons, these plastics do not contain BPAs and so are considered safer for human use.
these plastics also make up the bulk of yogurt containers and insulation for winter clothing. They are tough, light-weight, and generally considered safe for human use.
styrofoam, used in many items from plates and cups to packaging materials, it is considered a potential carcinogenic in the presence of heat. Also not commonly recycled, these weak and ultralight items are often culprits of ocean pollution.
it does not contain any one of the above six resins. Code seven plastics are exceptionally dangerous to human health as many of them contain BPAs, BPSs, or both.
5 Simple Ways To Avoid Using Plastic
1. Say Goodbye to single-use plastic water bottles, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable water bottle.
2. Shop with reusable bags. Take your own bags when shopping!
3. Ditch the straw! Take your own metal reusable straw, or don't use a straw at all.
4. Try and recycle everything. Make the effort to rinse out plastic packaging to avoid contamination, place the correct waste in the correct bins and get them collected on time.
5. Buy local and seasonal products. Go to your nearest supermarket or local food market and buy your products there.
Why Recycle Plastic?
Recycling provides a sustainable source of raw materials to the industry.
It greatly reduces the environmental (especially the CO2) impact of plastic-rich products and minimises the amount of plastic being sent to landfill sites.
By recycling we avoid the consumption of the Earth’s oil stocks, we consume less energy than producing new, virgin polymers.
Recycling is essential to protecting our oceans and wildlife. It also embeds the right values and behaviour to reduce human impact on the environment.
What Can You Do - Follow the 3 R's
The Plastic Recycling Process
Types Of Recycling
There are two types of plastic recycling:
Traditional recycling (which suits thermoplastic materials) is a process whereby old used plastic items are melted down and converted into new usable products. This is usually done using an injection molding method.
The second type is Advanced recycling, this type of plastic recycling is a process whereby old used plastics are broken down using chemicals.
It includes three techniques all of which transform the old item into crude oil, gas, or monomers respectively. Whichever the method, recycling has the same aim: to take the old and make it new.
Worldwide Recycling Statistics
Toxic Chemicals In Plastics
The Waste Framework Directive
Sets out that waste should be dealt with in accordance with the waste hierarchy, with legislation aiming to move waste management up the hierarchy.
Prevention – Reducing resources used in manufacture, ensuring products last for a long time and using less material
Preparing for reuse – Repairing, cleaning, refurbishing and checking
Other recovery – Incineration to produce energy, anaerobic digestion, gasification and pyrolysis to produce either fuel, heat or electricity.
Disposal – Landfill or incineration without energy recovery
Ocean Plastic Statistics
The world produces 381 million tonnes in plastic waste yearly – this is set to double by 2034.
50% of this is single-use plastic & only 9% has ever been recycled.
More than 1 million plastic bags end up in the trash every minute.
Plastic microbeads are estimated to be one million times more toxic than the seawater around it.
More than 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die from plastic pollution every year.
Marine plastic pollution has affected 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabirds of those examined.
More than two-thirds of the world’s fish stocks are suffering from plastic ingestion.
If coral encounters plastic the likelihood of it becoming diseased increases from 4% to 89%, a disastrous effect as coral is home to more than 25% of marine life.