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Plastic Identification Codes

The table below provides background information on the various recycling codes used.


Type of Plastic Properties Common Uses Recyled In
Polyethylene Terephthalate
Clear, tough solvent resistant, barrier to gas and moisture, softens at 80°C Soft drink and water bottles, salad domes, biscuit trays, salad dressing and peanut butter containers Pillow and sleeping bag filling, clothing, softdrink bottles carpet
High Density Polyethylene
Hard to semi-flexible, resistant to chemicals and moisture, waxy surface, opaque, softens at 75°C, easily coloured, processed and formed Crinkly shopping bags, freezer bags, milk bottles, ice cream containers, juice botles, shampoo, chemical and detergent bottles, buckets, rigid agricultural pipe, milk crates Recycling bins, compost bins, buckets, detergent containers, posts, fencing, pipes
Unplasticised PolyvinylChloride PVC-UPlasticised Polyvinyl Chloride PCV-P
Strong, tough, can be clear, can be solvent welded, softens at 80°CFlexible, clear, elastic, can be solvent welded Cosmetic containers, electrical conduit, plumbing pipes and fittings, blister packs, wall cladding, roof sheeting, bottlesgarden hose, shoe soles, cable sheathing, blood bags and tubing, watch straps Flooring, film and sheets, cables, speed bumps, packaging, binders, mud flaps and mats
Low density Polyethylene
Soft, flexible, waxy surface, translucent, softens at 70°C, scratches easily Glad wrap, garbage bags, squeeze bottles, black irrigation tube, garbage bins Rubbish bin liners, pallet sheets
Hard but still flexible, waxy surface, softens at 140°C, translucent, withstands solvents, versatile Dip bottles and ice cream tubs, potato chip bags, straws, microwave dishes, kettles, garden furniture, lunch boxes, blue packing tape Pegs, bins, pipes, pallet sheets, oil funnels, car battery cases, trays


Expanded Polystyrene

Clear, glassy, rigid, brittle, opaque, semi-tough, softens at 95°C. Affected by fats and solventsFoamed, light weight, energy absorbing, heat insulating CD cases, plastic cutlery, imitation 'crystal glassware', low cost brittle toys, video casesFoamed polystyrene hot drink cups, hamburger takeaway clamshells, foamed meat trays, protective packaging for fragile items Coat hangers, coasters, white ware components, stationery trays and accessories
Letters below indicate ISO code for plastic type e.g. SAN, ABS, PC, Nylon
Includes all other resins and multi materials (e.g. laminates). Properties depend on plastic or combination of plastics Car parts, appliance parts, electronics, water cooler bottles, packaging Car parts, concrete aggregate, plastic timber

We have also provided a PDF document for you to download, which contains further information.

Plastic Identification Codes [318 Kb]
Plastic Recycling Identification Codes

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