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Plastic: products – uses – types - quality


Plastic: products – uses – types - quality  Plastic definition

Plastic definition

Plastic is defined as any organic, synthetic or semi-synthetic polymer that is permanently composed of carbon and hydrogen, and it may contain other elements other than them, and the term plastic refers to the property of plasticity and the ability to deform without breaking,[1]


Plastic is a material made of polymers, and it is one of the types of organic and semi-organic materials, and it has several types, such as: nylon, polytene, terylene, and polystyrene, and plastic was made for the first time in 1907 AD, by the scientist Leo Baekeland, and plastic is included in many The areas of our life, including the common ones such as plastic cans, in which mineral water and juices are kept, including those that are used in water extensions, sewage networks, and there are some safe and unsafe types of plastic, and in this article we will explain the signs of plastic quality.



Plastic products

There are many different types of plastic, but plastic products can be divided into two main groups, which are as follows: [2]

1.      Thermoplastics polymers: (Thermoplastics); Thermoplastic polymers are soft when heated, and then harden when cooled.

2.     Thermoplastic solid polymers: (Thermosets); Thermoplastic rigid polymers have the advantage that they never soften once formed.



Plastic uses

There are many uses and benefits of plastic; It is used in many fields, the most important of which are as follows: [3]

1.      Construction: Plastic materials can be used to design long-term, sustainable and durable building in the field of construction and infrastructure; as bridges.

2.     Automotive design: Plastics have contributed to many innovations in automotive design, particularly in terms of safety, performance, and fuel efficiency.

3.     Electronics Manufacturing: The use of durable, lightweight and affordable plastics has revolutionized the world of electronic devices, including computers, televisions, mobiles, microwaves, and more.

4.     Goods packaging: Packaging goods with plastic products helped protect and preserve them, and this also contributes to reducing weight during transportation, which leads to reduced fuel use, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

5.     Sports Safety: Plastics are used in the manufacture of sports safety equipment in order to protect and preserve the head, feet and bones from impact; such as plastic helmets, mouth guards, and goggles; This is because plastics are durable and light in weight.



Types of plastic

1. Polyethylene Terephthalate

Polyethylene terephthalate, commonly known as polyester, is the most widely produced plastic in the world. It is widely used in packaging; Like plastic water bottles, it is recyclable.[4]


2. Polyethylene

Polyethylene is classified into two main types that differ according to their use and components, including: [4]

·       Low Density Polyethylene: (LDPE), which is characterized by high ductility and low tensile strength, and is used in the manufacture of plastic bags.

·       High Density Polyethylene: (HDPE), which is more rigid, is used in the manufacture of garbage bins, and for various construction applications.


3. Polyvinyl chloride

Polyvinyl Chloride is used in the manufacture of pipes and electrical wire insulation, and despite its fragility, it is distinguished by its strength.[4]


4. Polypropylene

Polypropylene is characterized by that it does not react with liquids, can be easily repaired, has good electrical resistance, is semi-transparent, has a low-friction surface, and is used in product packaging, and as parts for the automotive industry and other products.[4 [


5. Polystyrene

Polystyrene is used in the manufacture of lids for soft drinks, or medical devices such as test tubes or petri dishes.


6. Acrylic

Acrylic is transparent, scratch-resistant, and if broken, it is less harmful than others on human skin.[4]


7. Nylon

Nylon is used in the manufacture of clothing and car tires, and is characterized by its high strength and heat resistance.[4]


8. Acetal

Acetal is known for its high resistance to: heat, abrasion, water, and chemical compounds, and has a low coefficient of friction, which makes it useful for applications that use gears.[4]


9. Teflon

Teflon is stable, heat-resistant, resistant to many chemicals, and strong, and is used in cookware, waterproof casings, and pipes.[4]



Plastic Quality Marks

Number 1

It is known by the symbol PET or PETE and indicates the safety of the plastic used because it contains polyethylene, and can be used only once, and this substance is used to preserve food or consumer products, such as: juice, water, and it has no side effects on human health, In this case, the plastic is thin and flexible at the same time.


Number 2

It is known by the symbol HDPE, and the plastic here is more similar to polyethylene as it is safe to use, and does not pose a threat to human life and health, but is more solid, strong and flexible than the first type, and a good example of this type is the cans of household detergents and shampoos.


Number 3

It is known by the symbol V, and this type represents polyvinyl chloride, and it is among the most dangerous types of plastic to health; Because it contains many toxic components, this type is usually used in electrical pipes and sewage network pipes.


Number 4

It is known as LDPE (low density polyethylene), and it is considered one of the safe types, and is used in the manufacture of water pipes.


Number 5

Known with the symbol PP, it is one of the safest types of plastic, and its use is in the field of food preservation.


Number 6

It is known by the symbol PS and represents polystyrene, and it is characterized by having a low toxicity effect, and this type is used in the manufacture of fast food boxes, which are prepared in restaurants, and transferred to customers outside or inside the restaurant, and it is worth noting that developed countries no longer use this type of plastic for the stated purpose.


Number 7

It is known by the symbol Other or O, and this number indicates that this type of plastic does not contain the materials in the previous mentioned types, and this type is not suitable for use in foods or foodstuffs, unless there is an indication to that.



General caveats

1.      Be careful not to use the previous types of plastic, mentioned from number one to number five, many times for the purpose of preserving foods, lest part of the materials made of them disintegrate, and mix with foods, especially if the food is hot.

2.     The possibility of reusing safe plastic types in other things, such as: making decorative boxes, or planting small rose seedlings.


Why is plastic harmful to the planet?

Plastic is harmful to the planet due to a variety of reasons and things. They are as follows: [5]

Plastic is an unsustainable material: Many types of plastic materials are not recyclable, and plastic is also made from unsustainable materials, including oil, natural gas, and coal, and the plastic manufacturing process itself is harmful to the environment.


Slow decomposition of plastic: plastic materials need a long time to decompose and filter toxic substances from them, as it takes 1,000 years or more to decompose in landfills, and plastic when decomposing does not completely disappear; It breaks down into fine particles called microplastics, and it is noteworthy that some plastics are biodegradable, as they can be converted into fertilizer, but the production process is expensive.


Plastic is dangerous to wildlife: thousands of seabirds, sea turtles, and other marine mammals die every year; As a result of eating plastic materials dumped in those water bodies, or that these organisms attached to those products, many marine creatures are threatened with extinction, for example, the monk seals in Hawaii, and the loggerhead sea turtles in the Pacific Ocean.[6]





1.      Anne Marie Helmenstine (10-4-2020), "Plastic Definition and Examples in Chemistry"،, Retrieved 5-4-2021. Edited.

2.     Creative Mechanisms Staff (21-7-2016), "The Eleven Most Important Types of Plastic"،, Retrieved 7-1-2019. Edited.

3.     CRAIG FREUDENRICH, PH.D, "How Plastics Work"،, Retrieved 7-1-2019. Edited.

4.     Ferdinand Rodriguez (26-12-2018), "Plastic"،, Retrieved 7-1-2019. Edited.

5.     Lucy (20-9-2019), "Why is plastic bad for the planet?"،, Retrieved 6-4-2021. Edited.

6.     "OCEAN PLASTICS POLLUTION",, Retrieved 25-4-2021. Edited.