Plastic Guide

There are 7 main plastic types: HDPE, LDPE, PP, PVC, PET, PS and Other. Let's dive into each type to learn more about them.



Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

PET is clear in color and can be semi-rigid to rigid depending on how it is processed. It is very lightweight. It has great moisture and gas barrier properties and is commonly used in soda and water bottles.

Properties:

  • Clear
  • Great moisture barrier including alcohol and solvents
  • Shatter-resistant
  • Heat tolerance up to 160°F

 


High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

HDPE is lightweight and flexible and can be semi-rigid to rigid depending on how it is processed. It is the most widely used plastic. HDPE has a great chemical resistance and that is why it is great for storing chemicals such as cleaning solutions, acids and bleaches.

Properties:

  • High tensile strength
  • Great chemical resistance to most solvents
  • HDPE can handle temperatures up to 248°F

 


Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

LDPE is less dense than HDPE and is very flexible.  Products like condiments are packaged in LDPE containers because they are easy to squeeze. Like HDPE, LDPE has a high chemical resistance.

Properties:

  • Can be translucent or opaque 
  • LDPE can handle temperatures up to 180°F
  • Most commonly used in film applications as in trash can liners and storage bags

 


Polypropylene (PP)

PP is strong and has a high resistance to heat.  PP is also flexible and extremely durable. 

Properties:

  • PP can handle temperatures up to 320°F which is what makes it great for dishwasher-safe products
  • Can be translucent, opaque or any color

 


Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

PVC is a rigid material that is also durable.  It has good chemical resistance and a long shelf-life.  It is susceptible to UV exposure as it will break down after extended exposure.

Properties:

  • Great for storing chemicals such as cleaning solutions, acids and bleaches
  • PVC can handle temperatures up to 140°F

 


Polystyrene (PS)

PS is can be rigid or in a foam state.  In its rigid form it is very brittle. It offers little flexibility. 

Properties:

  • Excellent clarity as it often appears like glass
  • Great moisture barrier for products with a short shelf life
  • PVC can handle temperatures up to 140°F.