The different types of plastics

Get a deeper understanding of the different types of plastics and which one makes the best containers for your product. We hope this page will help you unpack packaging acronyms, examine the usefulness of different plastics, and determine what characteristics are important in your product packaging.

To do this, we have outlined the advantages and disadvantages of each type of plastic resin used to manufacture our plastic bottles, jars, tubs and pails. If you would like to see a side-by-side comparison, you can visit our plastic comparison guide to help you make your decision.

POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE (PET) 

PET is a thermoplastic polymer resin which is the most common material used for plastic beverage bottles. In its natural state, PET is clear and rigid, making it a popular choice for companies who want the appearance of a glass container, but the lightweight advantages of plastic.

Advantages:                                                                      

Clear

Lightweight

Moderate—high rigidity

Good oxygen barrier

High impact resistance

Good cold resistance

Resistant to most alcohols and solvents

Disadvantages:

Poor resistance to acids

Recommended max fill temp 145°F

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

HDPE a moderately rigid thermoplastic resin which is naturally translucent, but depending on application, can be colored. Commonly used for shampoo/soap bottles, windshield wiper fluid and laundry detergent.

Advantages

Excellent moisture barrier

Excellent impact resistance

Excellent cold resistance

Resistant to most acids and bases

Disadvantages

Poor oxygen barrier

Poor resistance to solvents

POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC)

PVC is a clear, highly rigid thermoplastic resin which is commonly used for chemical packaging as well as other applications including, pipes, gutters and house siding. PVC is durable and can withstand many chemical and mechanical stressors.

Advantages

Good oxygen barrier

Good impact resistance

Resistant to most alcohols

Resistant to most acids

Disadvantages

Fair moisture barrier

Poor resistance to sunlight

Fair resistance to cold

LOW DENSITY POLYETHYLENE (LDPE)

LDPE is a very flexible thermoplastic resin which is naturally translucent. Common uses include squeeze applications, such as eye-drop bottles and glue bottles.

Advantages

Excellent impact resistance

Excellent resistance to cold

Good moisture barrier

Disadvantages

Poor oxygen barrier

Poor resistance to solvents

 

POLYPROPYLENE (PP)

Polypropylene is a translucent, moderately rigid thermoplastic resin. Common uses include food service jugs, reusable plastic containers and closures.

Advantages

Good moisture barrier

Withstand temperatures up to 212°F

Good resistance to acids

Good resistance to alcohols

Disadvantages

Poor oxygen barrier

Poor resistance to solvents

Fair impact resistance

 

POLYSTYRENE (PS)

Polystyrene is a thermoplastic resin which can either be clear and highly rigid, or foamed. Common uses include clamshell food containers, packaging peanuts and disposable flatware.

Advantages

Lightweight

Rigid

Disadvantages

Poor impact resistance

Poor resistance to cold

Fair—poor moisture barrier

Other

Any plastic other than the 6 aforementioned resin types fall into this miscellaneous category. One plastic found in the “Other” category is Polycarbonate (PC) which known to be made with BPA (Bisphenol A). Plastics made from bio-based polymers, such as corn starch also fall under this catchall category. Other than bio-based plastics which are compostable, and marked as such, plastics falling into the #7 category are not recyclable.


Post time: Aug-30-2018
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