Common plastics and their typical uses

Polyethylene (PE)

wide range of uses, very inexpensive

Polypropylene (PP)

food containers, appliances

Polystyrene (PS)

packaging foam, food containers, disposable cups, plates and cutlery

Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE)

beverage containers

Polyamide (PA) (Nylon)

fibers, toothbrush bristles, fishing line

Polyester (PES)

fibres, textiles

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

plumbing pipes, flooring, shower curtains, erotic clothing

Polycarbonate (PC)

compact discs, eyeglasses

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)

electronic equipment cases (e.g., computer monitors, printers, keyboards) Polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) (Saran)

food packaging

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) (Teflon)

heat resistant, low-friction coatings, used in things like frying pans and water slides

Plastarch Material

biodegradable and heat resistant, thermoplastic composed of modified corn starch. Polyurethane

insulation foam, upholstery foam


insulating parts in electrical fixtures (it is a thermosetting plastic, a.k.a. phenol formaldehyde or phenolic resin, that can be moulded by heat and pressure when mixed with a filler-like wood flour or can be cast in its unfilled liquid form.)

Polylactic acid

a biodegradable, thermoplastic, aliphatic polyester derived from lactic acid which in turn can be made by fermentation of various agricultural products such as corn starch.

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