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Fantastic Plastics : Fantastic Plastics 2011
Types of plastic While there are over 40 different plastics used today, they can generally be divided into two categories – Thermoplastics or Thermoset plastics. TYPE 1 Thermoplastics or thermosoftening plastics Can soften and melt when heat is applied. They can be remelted and remoulded, making them recyclable. Thermoplastics make up 80% of the plastics produced today. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) – drink bottles, shopping bags Polypropylene (PP) – straws, garden furniture Polystyrene (PS) – plastic cutlery Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)* – toys, furniture Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE/Teflon) – plumbing tape, bearings TYPE 2 Thermoset or thermosetting plastics Once cooled and hardened, these plastics will retain their shapes. They cannot return to their original form, making them difficult to recycle. Thermosets make up the remaining 20% of plastics produced. Polyurethanes (PU) - insulation, carpet underlay Polyesters - tyres, belts, clothing Epoxy Resins - paints, coatings, adhesives Phenol Formaldehyde Resins (PF) - pool balls, laboratory countertops *Tupperware does not use PVC in any of its products and accessories. 5