Having knowledge of the different types of plastic is critical to understanding the complexity of recycling, upcycling and the health factors associated with plastic.
Plastic is defined as a material that contains an essential ingredient an organic substance of large molecular weight. It is also defined as polymers of long carbon chains. Their plasticity makes it possible for plastics to be moulded, extruded, or pressed into solid objects of various shapes.
Plastic was discovered by famous German chemist Christian Schonbein in 1846. Plastics were actually discovered accidentally. Christian was experimenting in his kitchen and by accident, he spilt a mixture of nitric acid and sulphuric acid. To mop that solution (a mixture of nitric and sulphuric acid) he took a cloth and after moping he kept it over the stove. After some time, the cloth disappeared and from their plastic got its name.
Recycling of plastic is very important. If they are not recycled at the proper time, then they get mixed with other chemicals or materials and hence become more difficult to recycle and become a source of pollution.
The main reason is, plastic recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacture of recycled plastic and the carbonization of plastic waste and prevents waste from going to landfills or decomposing land. In addition, recycling polymers plastics is more fuel-efficient than manufacturing new ones.
They are non-biodegradable, and they do not get decomposed by the microbial action.
You can distinguish the plastic by recycling symbols (mentioned below in the diagram) with the number used, and you can come to know which kind of plastic is used for what and its recyclability.
The different types of plastic waste?
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE)
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Miscellaneous Plastics (Mix plastics)
Polyethylene terephthalate which is also defined as PET or PETE is mainly used to manufacture the packaging material for food products such as fruit and drinks, and ravages due to their ability to keep the product from spoiling. It is lightweight, transparent, and also available in some colors. They are safer than the rest of the plastic. They are the most used plastic all around the world as have a high strength-to-weight ratio. Polyethylene terephthalate is easily recycled. Hence it is code as number 1.
HDPE stands for high-density polyethylene, which is a thermoplastic polymer. It is mostly used for Hygiene products like plastic bottles, milk jugs, juice containers, shampoo bottles, body wash products, bleach bottles, cutting boards, and piping and is also used in children’s toys. With its lightweight, durability, and malleability, HDPE is a perfect material for injection molding. It’s easily recycled and is quite strong and thick when compared to PET. It is code as number 2.
Polyvinyl Chloride can be defined as PVC it is a “thermoplastic” material. PVC offers a wide variety of applications and advantages across multiple industries in both rigid and flexible forms. In particular, Rigid PVC possesses a high density for plastic, making it extremely hard and generally incredibly strong. PVC has an extremely durable nature and is lightweight, making it an attractive material for construction, plumbing, and other industrial applications. PVC is very dense compared to most plastics, readily available, and cheap. And has excellent tensile strength. Due to being easily recyclable, its code as number 3
LDPE’s lower density and branched molecules provide it with somewhat different properties. It is resistant to impact (doesn’t break easily), moisture (waterproof), and chemical resistance (can stand up to many hazardous materials). It is mostly used as bags for groceries, newspaper delivery, dry-cleaning, bread, beverage cups, plastic wraps, and so on, plus product overwraps, bubble wrap, and cereal box liners. Plus there are many industrial and agricultural uses, particularly plastic film and packaging to protect all sorts of products. They are recycled into film plastic, furniture, plastic lumber, rubbish, and compost bins. Due to its different properties, its code is 4.
Polypropylene also known as ( polypropene ), is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applicants. In simple terms plastic is known for being a tough and rigid material. Polypropylene is a plastic that can be used as packaging material, Medical supplies, Plastic furniture, Automotive parts, and Plastic films. Polypropylene is one of the foremost common sorts of plastic utilized in the manufacturing process. The code for this 5
Polystyrene may be a synthetic hydrocarbon polymer made up of the monomer referred to as styrene. It can either be solid or foamed form. You may be very familiar with the word Styrofoam (Thermocol). Commonly used polystyrene is transparent, hard, and brittle. It is mostly used for Plastic forks, DVD cases, the housing of computers, model cars, toys, rulers, and hair combs, disposable cutlery and bowls, packing materials, and egg cartons. Due to various use its code as 6
Miscellaneous Plastics are that plastic which is different from all plastic. It`s are polycarbonate, polylactide, acrylic, acrylonitrile butadiene, styrene, fiberglass, and nylon. plastic CDs and DVDs Baby Bottles Large water bottles with multiple-gall capacity Medical storage containers Eyeglasses Exterior lighting fixtures. It is not very easy to interrupt down these plastics once they’re created unless they’re exposed to high temperatures.