Plastic is a hard substance. These elements are all around us. It is a regular part of our daily lives, from our daily chores to large industries. You might be aware that plastic of any kind is dangerous to the environment. This plastic is a huge threat to the environment, as it can be thrown into rivers and oceans, as well as other natural resources. We have to balance its widespread use and environmental sustainability. You might ask, “Are all plastics alike?”
Everyday, we come across different types of plastics. Some plastics can be recycled; others aren’t, because they contain chemicals that aren’t recyclable. Others need to be disposed off differently. Different types of this material have different impacts on the environment. It is easy to find out what you are using and if they can be recycled.
We’ll walk you through seven basic types of plastics that we are all familiar with. To learn more, read the entire blog!
PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate or PETE)
It’s also known by the name polyester. PET is a wrinkle-free fiber. It is widely used because it prevents oxygen from entering the product and contaminating it. This property is used primarily for packaging food and drinks. It prevents carbonated beverages from escaping the container. PET is a recyclable plastic. It contains antimony trioxide which can cause cancer in living tissue.
Antimony can be released if a liquid is kept in a PET container longer than necessary. This toxic substance can also be released in enclosed areas such as garages, cars, or enclosed spaces. PET bottles have the highest recycling rate in the world, despite their impressive track record.
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HDPE, or High-Density Polyethylene, is stronger and thicker that PET because it contains long unbranched polymer chain. This plastic is used extensively for recycling bins and milk jugs, farm pipes, and grocery bags. It also serves as playground equipment, shampoo bottles and medicine bottles. The HDPE material is also highly resistant to impact and can withstand temperatures up to 120°C.
HDPE is more stable than PET, and it’s also easily recyclable. It is therefore a safer and more convenient option for food storage.
Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC
The next type of plastic is PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. It’s used extensively for cling wraps and blister wraps, toys, laundry tubing, blood bags, and loose leaf binders. PVC is the third most commonly produced synthetic plastic polymer. There are two types of PVC: rigid and flexible. The rigid form of PVC is used in building and construction to make doors, pipes and window profiles.
It can be combined with other elements to create a soft structure that can be used in wiring, plumbing and insulation of electrical cables. PVC is gradually replacing metal, wood, rubber and ceramics for a variety of uses due to its ease-of-use, strength, lightness, and processability. It is not recyclable and is therefore considered to be the most dangerous element on the toxicology scale.
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LDPE, or Low-Density Polyethylene, is the next member of the family. It has the simplest polymer chemical structure. It is very easy to make and cheap. It is used in making bags for frozen foods, bread, groceries, garbage, newspapers and hot & cold beverages cups. This plastic is the most widely used in the world. It has significant chain branching and long side chains, making it less dense and crystallized. It is therefore a thinner and more flexible form of polyethene. LDPE can cause hormonal problems in humans and is hard to recycle.
Another form of hot food storage is Polypropylene, also known as PP. It is stronger and more resistant to heat. PP has a strength of between HDPE and LDPE. It is used extensively in car parts, thermal vests and sanitary pad liners. However, PP cannot be easily recycled in nature and can cause asthma and hormone disruptions in people.
The next type of polystyrene can be found in packaging materials for egg cartons and insulation. It also makes disposable dinnerware and beverage cups. Because it is inexpensive per unit weight and simple to make, you can easily find it near you. This resin, also known as Styrofoam is extremely toxic and inflammable. It can leak chemicals when heated.
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PS is not biodegradable and can be blown in the wind and float on water because it has a low specific gravity. PS is also recyclable at a low rate.
This is the last group that includes such plastic-types that don’t fall within the previous six categories. Polycarbonates (PC) are the most common, used to make tough and strong products. These materials are used to create lenses for safety and sport goggles, sunglasses, and other optical devices. This category also includes elements such as in compact discs mobile phone phones.