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Different Types of Plastic You Should Know About

Not every plastic is made for every job. Whether you need to hold food for a few hours or a few days will require two different plastics to guarantee freshness. Listed below are the different types of plastic you should know before committing to one for production.

Polyethylene

The most popular, versatile, and perhaps safest type of plastic in the world, polyethylene has many advantages and uses for everyday products. Diverse in use, it comes in three different varieties to choose from depending on the situation. First is the standard polyethylene terephthalate, also known as PET. It is mostly used to preserve food and keep drinks carbonated, preventing oxygen from entering and carbon dioxide from escaping. For most manufacturing processes, exploring if PET is the most appropriate option should come before investing in other, less cost-effective plastics.

The second variety is high-density polyethylene, or HDPE. These are stronger and denser than the standard PET and are used in the storage of medicine, shampoo, and recycling bins.

The final variation is low-density polyethylene, abbreviated to LDPE. This is the easiest and cheapest variety of polyethylene to produce, owing to its simple plastic polymer chemical structure. It is mainly used to manufacture plastic bags and disposable cups.

Polyvinyl Chloride

Used in the manufacturing of toys and blood bags, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is considered the most toxic of the plastics, making it unsuitable for the storage of food and medicine. Due to the toxicity of the plastic, it is considered harmful to recycle and is considered more of a risk to use in the manufacturing of products compared to other plastics.

Polypropylene

Polypropylene, shortened to PP, is used to produce reusable water bottles, disposable diapers, and hot food containers. If you are manufacturing car parts, its resilience and heat resistant qualities also make it ideal for the task.

Polystyrene

Known as both PS and Styrofoam, polystyrene is used as disposable food containers, cushioning for helmets, and protection for packaged items in transit.

As an important final note, you must remember that all these different types of plastics have the capacity to release hazardous materials into whatever items they may be storing. This can happen if a water bottle is kept sealed for too long, as the water acts as a solvent that breaks down the plastic, or if the plastic is exposed to extreme levels of heat. Make sure you know which type of plastic is ideal for your purposes before production starts and further explore the potential hazardous risks of working with certain plastics.

Written by Logan Voss

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