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Plastic Identification Code

Seven groups of plastic polymers,

each with specific properties, are used worldwide
for packaging applications (see table below) !ach group of plastic polymer can be
identified by its "lastic #dentification code ("#$) % usually a number or a letter
abbreviation &or instance, 'ow%(ensity "olyethylene can be identified by the number )
and*or the letters +'("!+ ,he "#$ appears inside a three%chasing arrow recycling
symbol ,he symbol is used to indicate whether the plastic can be recycled into new
,he "#$ was introduced by the Society of the "lastics #ndustry, #nc which provides a
uniform system for the identification of different polymer types and helps recycling
companies to separate different plastics for reprocessing -anufacturers of plastic food
packaging and containers can voluntarily mark their products with the "#$ $onsumers
can identify the plastic types based on the codes usually found at the base or at the side of
the plastic food packaging and containers ,he "#$ is usually not present on packaging
films, as it is not practical to collect and recycle most of this type of waste
Type of plastic
Common Packaging
("!,, "!,!)
$larity, strength,
toughness, barrier to
gas and moisture
Soft drink, water and salad
dressing bottles. peanut butter
and /am /ars
0igh (ensity
Stiffness, strength,
toughness, resistance
to moisture,
permeability to gas
-ilk, /uice and water bottles.
trash and retail bags
$hloride ("1$)
1ersatility, clarity,
ease of blending,
strength, toughness
2uice bottles. cling films. "1$
'ow (ensity
!ase of processing,
strength, toughness,
fle3ibility, ease of
sealing, barrier to
&ro4en food bags. s5uee4able
bottles, eg honey, mustard.
cling films. fle3ible container
Strength, toughness,
resistance to heat,
chemicals, grease and
oil, versatile, barrier
to moisture
6eusable microwaveable ware.
kitchenware. yogurt containers.
margarine tubs. microwaveable
disposable take%away
containers. disposable cups and
"olystyrene ("S)
1ersatility, clarity,
easily formed
!gg cartons. packing peanuts.
disposable cups, plates, trays
and cutlery. disposable take%
away containers.
7ther (often
polycarbonate or
(ependent on
polymers or
combination or
9everage bottles. baby milk
bottles. electronic casing