There are two broad types of plastic: thermoplastic and thermoset. Thermoset cannot be melted once it has been formed, making it difficult or impossible to reuse. Luckily, around 80% of all plastic is thermoplastic - meaning it can be remelted and recycled into a new product.

Plastic products often have a triangular logo on them that describes the material they are made from: the triangle will contain a number that can be used to identify the general type of plastic.

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The easiest way to identify the type of plastic is to use the recycling logo, described above, however not all products will contain this. Other methods of identification include whether a product floats or not[1], the sound (if any) it makes when deformed and the characteristics of it burning[2] (not recommended!).

For more information on plastics and recycling them, visit Precious Plastics.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Polypropylene (PP) floats whilst polyethylene terephthalate (PET) sinks
  2. Polystyrene (PS) burns with a dark smoke
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