This content was archived on 10 Mar 2013.

Types of plastic

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.
File 5110null

High Density
Polyethylene
Milk bottles, bleach, cleaners and most
shampoo bottles.
File 5111null

Polyvinyl
Chloride
Pipes, fittings, window and door frames
(rigid PVC). Thermal insulation (PVC foam)
and automotive parts.
File 5112null

Low Density
Polyethylene
Carrier bags, bin liners and packaging films.
File 5113null

Polypropylene Margarine tubs, microwaveable meal trays, also produced as fibres and filaments for carpets, wall coverings and vehicle
upholstery.
File 5114null

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.
File 5115null

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
File 5116null

If you are having difficulty identifying your plastic waste please contact:

  • The supplier of the material.
  • Call the WRAP helpline on 0808 100 2040 or email