Automated recycling

Identify Plastics

The International Plastic Identification Code
1. PET - Polyethylene Terephthalate

Main character of PET is transparency, strength and toughness while being an excellent barrier for liquid and gasses.

Main uses for PET are as a soft drink, water and salad dressing bottles.  It is also used for peanut butter and jam jars where the transparent nature can allow the product contained to be seen.

PET can also be used as a fabric and is frequently spun into a yarn which is then woven into a cloth.  PET fabrics tend to have very high wear strength so can be seen from commercial grade upholstery through to clothing.
Type 1
2. HDPE - High Density Polyethylene

Main character of PET is stiffness, strength and toughness while being an excellent barrier for liquid yet permeable for gasses.

One of the main uses for HDPE is as a plastic milk bottle where the 'natural' colour of the material is seen.  HDPE is also used for some 'janitorial' grade products such as cleaning agents or shampoo bottles where a strong colour is used.

HDPE is also used to make hula-hoop, buckets and also water pipes.
Type 2
3. PVC Polyvinyl Chloride

Main characteristics of PVC are strength, toughness and ease of blending
PVC will be used in blister packaging for non-food items, wrapping for non-food items and the casing around electrical wired.

Additives used within PVC to allow the rigidity are toxic hence it is not used to contain food.
Type 3
4. LDPE - Low Density Polyethylene

Ease of processing, strength, toughness, flexibility, ease of sealing and a barrier to moisture.

LDPE is frequently used as a cling film or shrink wrap, bread bag, frozen food bag and some squeezable bottles.  Not all squeezy bottles will be only LDPE as the acidity in some foods or sauces can erode the material
Type 4
5. PP - Polypropylene

Main characteristics of PP are its strength, flexibility and its resistance to both heat and oil.  It also serves as an excellent barrier to moisture and gasses.

PP is a naturally waxy feeling material with one of its most advantageous features being the capacity for an integrated hinge.  For this reason, PP is used on many flexible lids for shampoo, creams and other easily opened lids.

Because PP is able to withstand high heat along with being a barrier for heat and liquids, many microwave proof plastics use PP.
Type 5
6. PS - Polystyrene

PP can be easily formed and is highly versatile.

The range of uses for PP are wide ranging from egg cartons to disposable plates, meat trays and take away containers. 
Type 6
7. Other

Covers all the other plastics into a single group.  These together represent a large volume however as single materials, have a low volume compared to plastic grades 1-6.  ABS and PLA are two examples of plastics contained within this grade.
Type 7