The Different Plastic Types and Their Classifications


Few materials have impacted the evolution of man quite as much as plastic. Plastic is featured in almost everything we use. It affects how we work, how we play, and even how we heal. But, what many don’t realize is that not all plastic is the same. There are actually a number of different types of plastic and they’re separated by their classifications.

Here, we take a look at the various types of plastic, from clear acrylic tube to Styrofoam, and their unique classifications in the plastics industry.

Plastic Classification: SPI 1

Plastic that has a classification of SPI 1 is made with polyethylene terephthalate, also commonly known as PETE or PET. Items made from this type of plastic are highly recyclable and tend to include beverage bottles, medicine jars, combs, bean bags, and rope, among other things. Bottles and containers made from PET can sometimes absorb odors and flavors from the foods and drinks that are stored in them. After their initial use, PET products are usually recycled and made into carpets, tote bags, fiberfill material, and other products.

Plastic Classification: SPI 2

Plastic products that feature an SPI code of 2 are made from high-density polyethylene, or HDPE. These bottles and products are very safe for a multitude of uses because they don’t leach chemicals into foods or drinks. SPI 2 products include milk jugs, toys, motor oil containers, shampoo and conditioner bottles, soap bottles, and containers for detergents and bleaches. When recycled, this type of plastic is used to make plastic crates, plastic lumber, composite fencing, and other products.

Plastic Classification: SPI 3

Plastic that is classified as SPI 3 is made from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. This type of plastic is usually used for a variety of different pipes and tiles, especially plumbing pipes. Products made from SPI 3 should not come into contact with food. It is also recyclable and after being processed, SPI 3 plastic is often turned into flooring tiles, mobile home skirting, and other industrial-grade items.  

Plastic Classification: SPI 4

Plastic classified with an SPI code of 4 is made from low-density polyethylene, or LDPE. These products are not typically recycled, but they can be in some instances. Because this is low-density plastic, products made from it are usually durable and flexible. And, because they don’t release harmful chemicals into the objects that come in contact with it, SPI 4 plastic is a safe choice for food storage products like cling wrap, sandwich bags, squeezable bottles, and plastic grocery bags.

Plastic Classification: SPI 5

Plastics classified as SPI 5 are made using polypropylene, or PP. This type of plastic is strong and it can withstand higher temperatures, which makes it a good choice for products like Tupperware. It is also used to make plastic diapers, yogurt containers, syrup bottles, bottle caps, prescription bottles, and plastic stadium cups. Although they’re not commonly recycled, products made from PP are made into things like ice scrapers, rakes, battery cables, and other durable items when they are.

Plastic Classification: SPI 6

SPI 6 plastic is made from polystyrene (PS), which his most commonly known as Styrofoam. SPI 6 plastic is found in disposable coffee cups, plastic food boxes, foam, and packing peanuts. Because this product requires a lot of energy to recycle, few recyclers accept it. But, when it is recycled, it is made into a variety of different products ranging from rulers and license plate frames to insulation.

Plastic Classification: SPI 7

When a plastic bears an SPI code of 7, it means that the plastic is a miscellaneous type that’s not defined by any of the previous six codes. Most commonly, this classification includes plastics that are made from polycarbonate and polylactide. Common products bearing a code of SPI 7 include CDs and DVDs, baby bottles, 5-gallon water bottles, fiberglass, clear acrylic tubes and rods, and medical storage containers.

Call US Cast for High Quality Clear Acrylic Tubes and Rods

US Cast is one of the industry’s leading clear acrylic tube and rod manufacturers. We can custom fabricate clear acrylic for any industry application or purpose. To learn more about the qualities of our premium plastics or to place a custom order, just give us a call today at 856-347-2342 or connect with us on Facebook. We look forward to helping you get the acrylic products you need.


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