DIFFERENT TYPES OF PLASTICS AND THEIR CLASSIFICATION
The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) established a classification system in 1988 to allow consumers and recyclers to identify different types of plastic. Manufacturers place an SPI code, or number, on each plastic product, usually molded into the bottom. This guide provides a basic outline of the different plastic types associated with each code number.
Polyethylene Terephthalate sometimes absorbs odors and flavors from foods and drinks that are stored in them. Items made from this plastic are commonly recycled. PETE plastic is used to make many common household items like beverage bottles, medicine jars, rope, clothing and carpet fiber.
High-Density Polyethylene products are very safe and are not known to transmit any chemicals into foods or drinks. HDPE products are commonly recycled. Items made from this plastic include containers for milk, motor oil, shampoos and conditioners, soap bottles, detergents, and bleaches. It is NEVER safe to reuse an HDPE bottle as a food or drink container if it didn’t originally contain food or drink.
Polyvinyl Chloride is sometimes recycled. PVC is used for all kinds of pipes and tiles but is most commonly found in plumbing pipes. This kind of plastic should not come in contact with food items as it can be harmful if ingested.
Low-Density Polyethylene is sometimes recycled. It is a very healthy plastic that tends to be both durable and flexible. Items such as cling-film, sandwich bags, squeezable bottles, and plastic grocery bags are made from LDPE.
Polypropylene is occasionally recycled. PP is strong and can usually withstand higher temperatures. It is used to make lunch boxes, margarine containers, yogurt pots, syrup bottles, prescription bottles. Plastic bottle caps are often made from PP.
Polystyrene is commonly recycled but is difficult to do. Items such as disposable coffee cups, plastic food boxes, plastic cutlery, and packing foam are made from PS.
Code 7 is used to designate miscellaneous types of plastic not defined by the other six codes. Polycarbonate and Polylactide are included in this category. These types of plastics are difficult to recycle. Polycarbonate (PC) is used in baby bottles, compact discs, and medical storage containers.