Interesting Facts About Number 1 & Number 2 Thermoform Plastic

While there are many different types of plastic, this material can be broken into two main categories. This includes thermoset plastics and thermoform plastic. They sound similar, but thermoset plastics are those that really cannot be recycled and most of the thermoform plastics can be recycled. The two most commonly recycled thermoplastics include polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

When you buy a plastic water bottle or any type of thermoplastic container, these usually have a special code on them known as the resin identification code. Sometimes these are called recycling codes, and they indicate which type of plastic has been used to create a package or bottle. Grab a water bottle and look for the number inside the triangle formed by arrows, and that number is the resin id code. Of all of the codes you will find, the codes 1 and 2, which identify PET and HDPE, these two are almost universally allowed at recycling centers and in your curbside recycling bin.

Of all of the plastics products, packages and containers out there, the type that feature the number 1 code are by far the easiest to recycle. Not only is the process of recycling easier, these are accepted in just about every recycling bin in the world. Polyethylene terephthalate, which usually is just called PETE or PET, is this plastic, and is used to create plastic water bottles among other things. After you recycle that bottle, PET can be used to create everything from plastic containers to carpeting fibers.

PET was first patented back in 1941 by British chemists John Rex Whinfield and James Tennant Dickson. Two different monomers, terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol are bonded to form this thermoplastic, which is a polymer. Monomers are simply molecules that can bond easily with other molecules. When you bond two or more molecules, the result is a polymer. PET is very lightweight, strong and safe for use with many food products and beverages, which makes it a highly practical option for many types of thermoform packaging and plastic bottles.

All of these thermoplastics tend to have long, somewhat difficult-to-pronounce names, so when discussing high-density polyethylene, it’s easier to just say HDPE. This thermoplastic is actually a byproduct of petroleum, as are several other types of plastic. This strong, liquid-resistant plastic is used to create milk jugs and bottles that hold soaps and detergents. The resin identification code for HDPE is 2, and most recycling centers do accept the number 2 thermoplastics. However, we usually pay a deposit for PET bottles, and HDPE bottles do not require a deposit.

A thermoforming company will be able to design any type of custom thermoform packaging you might need. These professionals can create all types of thermoform plastic packaging, such as thermoform trays, blister packs, clamshell packaging and packaging that combines thermoplastic with other materials. PET and HDPE might be a good material for your packaging needs, and a thermoforming company can make that determination for you.

Lenna Stockwell loves writing about how stuff is made. For further information about custom thermoforming or to find out more about thermoform plastics, please check out the Indepak.com website now.

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