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Sep 27

Different types of plastics

Recycle Week 2018 will take place between 24 -30 September 2018 and plastics will be one of the leading things to be promoted. The impacts of plastics, especially to our seas, has been a prominent feature within the media over the last year. It is hoped that Recycle week will be an opportunity to encourage more people to recycle around the home and to change people’s recycling behaviours. With this emphasis on plastics, this blog takes a look at understanding better what plastic is.

What is a plastic? Plastic is created by bonding long chains of molecules into compounds called polymers that come from several difference sources including fossil fuels like oil and natural gases.

In 1988, The Society of the Plastics Industry developed a resin identification coding system to allow consumer and businesses to separate the different type of plastics.

So, what are the different types of plastics and how can you tell the difference and understand what you can and cannot recycle as a consumer or business? We’ve broken things down to help you out.

1. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE)
Polyethylene terephthalate is one of the most common household plastics and is accepted at almost all recycling facilities. This plastic is a strong barrier against water and gasses – this type of plastic is used to make water and fizzy drinks bottles as well as plastic food jars. PET is often recycled into polyester for carpets and clothing.

2. High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
This plastic is extremely resistant to solvents, so is used to package many household chemicals such as bleaches, cosmetics and detergents. Again, this plastic is commonly recycled in most recycling facilities and the material can be turned into building supplies, garbage bins or other construction materials.

3. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Much more used in the construction industry, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used for pipes, fencing, windows and doors plus insulation. It is however, difficult to recycle therefore making it least favourable to the environment.

4. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
Low-density polyethylene is one of the plastics that the UK has really cracked down on in recent years. A thin, flexible plastic which is used to manufacture plastic bags, and shrink wrap.

5. Polypropylene (PP)
Another plastic that has been in the news in recent months. Polypropylene is used in products such as straws and car parts. Although, recycling for this plastic is widely available businesses and consumers are becoming more and more aware of unnecessary plastic use by swapping to more environmentally friendly alternatives such as plastic or aluminium straws.

6. Polystyrene
Polystyrene is one of the least recycle friendly plastics because its volume makings it difficult to transport. Used to make insulation, shipping supplies as well as CD Cases and hangers; this plastic isn’t as easy to dispose of as other plastics which begs the questions; what are alternate materials that can be used for such products?


For more information on how you can recycle your plastics from consumer to commercial waste then speak to our team today. Contact us on 029 2036 3888 or email us at info@atlanticrecycling.co.uk for more information.

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