Types of Plastic Packaging

There are a number of different types of plastic packaging that require different treatment, reprocessing methods, and types of collection.

The following table illustrates the most common types of plastics used, their applications and the symbol which is often used to identify them on forms of plastic packaging.

Polymer Types Examples of applications Symbol
Polyethylene
Terephthalate
Fizzy drink and water bottles. Salad trays.
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High Density
Polyethylene
Milk bottles, bleach, cleaners and most
shampoo bottles.
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Polyvinyl
Chloride
Pipes, fittings, window and door frames
(rigid PVC). Thermal insulation (PVC foam)
and automotive parts.
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Low Density
Polyethylene
Carrier bags, bin liners and packaging films.
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Polypropylene Margarine tubs, microwaveable meal trays, also produced as fibres and filaments for carpets, wall coverings and vehicle
upholstery.
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Polystyrene Yoghurt pots, foam hamburger boxes and egg cartons, plastic cutlery, protective packaging for electronic goods and toys. Insulating material in the building and construction industry.
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Unallocated References Any other plastics that do not fall into any of the above categories - for example polycarbonate which is often used in glazing for the aircraft industry
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Where next?

Want to know more about plastics in Dry Materials? Take a look at our reports, guides, tools and case studies for further information:

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