Plastic identification codes are developed to help categorize plastic products according to their material type, and does not mean that the plastic is recyclable.
Codes #1 to #6 each identifies a single specific type of plastic commonly used in consumer goods. Code #7 is for all other kinds of plastics.
No.1 Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE)
PET is one of the most commonly used plastics in consumer products, due to its clear, light weight, tough and shatter resistant properties.
Items made from PET plastics includes soft drinks and water bottles.
No.2 High density polyethylene (HDPE)
HDPE plastic is highly versatile, due to its toughness, great durability and resistance to chemicals.
It is commonly used to make containers for milk, chemicals and detergents.
No.3 Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
PVC is very versatile, due to its flexibility, strength and toughness.
Items made from PVC plastics include wire and cable insulations, shower curtains, blood bags and medical tubings.
However, PVC is widely considered as “toxic plastic” because of the numerous toxin additives used during production. These toxic additives are released throughout its entire life cycle.
No.4 Low density polyethylene (LDPE)
LDPE has good flexibility, with unique flow properties.
It is often found in stretch film.
No.5 Polypropylene (PP)
PP plastic is tough and lightweight, and has excellent heat-resistance qualities.
It serves as a barrier against moisture, grease and chemicals. PP plastics are commonly used as the thin plastic liner in cereal boxes, margarine and yogurt containers, potato chip bags, straws and packing tape.
No.6 Polystyrene (PS)
PS is an inexpensive, lightweight and easily-formed plastic with a wide variety of uses.
It is most often used to make disposable styrofoam drinking cups, take-out “clamshell” food containers, egg cartons, plastic picnic cutlery, cd cases, foam packaging and “peanut” styrofoam chips (Mic-pac and loose fill pillows), which are used to fill shipping boxes as a cushioning material to protect the contents.
No.7 All other plastics; ABS, Nylon, PC
The #7 category was designed as a catch-all for other plastics other than those identified by numbers 1-6. It may also include plastics that are layered, or a mixture of different types of plastics.
This category includes plastics like Polycarbonate (PC), Acrylic (PMMA), Nylon, and many others.