Plastic Codes

Understanding plastics is key to everything we do here at Rotajet. Here you will find a short breakdown of the types of plastics that are identified within the RIC coding system.

Cosmetic Containers

Plastic Bottles

Food Trays

Edible Oil Containers

Milk Bottles
Detergent Bottles
Plastic Bags
Shampoo Bottles

Soft Drink Bottles

Garden Hoses

Blood Bags

Window Frames

Shopping Bags

Cereal Packets

Film Wrap

Bread Bags

Carpets

Ropes

Bank Notes

Thermals

Takeaway Boxes

Take-out Coffee Cups

Beer Coolers

Protective Packaging

Sunglasses

Sippy Cups

Baby Bottles

Nylon

The 7 standard resin codes for identifying the different plastic types are classified based on the type of resin and unique structural properties that make up the plastic. The types of plastic outlined by the 7 resin codes include; PET, HDPE, PVC, LDPE, PP, PS, and ‘Other’: each of which has its own unique properties and benefits which make them ideal for a large range of uses across the plastics industry. To account for the varying uses and molecular makeup of each of the 7 types of plastic, guidelines on recycling and reuse for each type can also vary. This is reflected in the percentages of different plastic types that get recycled; with PET and HDPE in particular getting recycled on a large scale.
 
Examples of the different uses of each type of plastic, as well as an insight into their relative recycling markets have been outlined below.

#1 PET – Polyethylene Terephthalate

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) is the term given to the polymer created by the fusion of two monomers: purified terephthalic acid and modified ethylene glycol. 

PET is the plastic-type often used to make plastic packaging for; cosmetic containers, plastic drinks bottles, prepared food/salad trays, edible oils, and mouthwash bottles.
Due to its prominence in the plastic packaging market, post-consumer PET is the most
commonly recycled type of plastic in the world; thereby offering a significant profit.

#2 HDPE – High-Density Polyethylene

High-density Polyethylene (HDPE) is a highly recyclable type of thermoplastic polymer
that is made up of the monomer ethylene. This plastic-type is a commonly recycled material that is often picked up by curb-side recycling programs. 

Due to its high strength-to-density ratio, HDPE is often used to make shampoo and milk bottles, plastic bags, and detergent bottles. Given the unique thermophysical properties of HDPE, it can be a reliable material for plastic packaging whilst its inability to withstand autoclaving makes it ideal and highly economical for recycling.

#3 PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is a synthetic plastic polymer which, alongside PET and HDPE, is
commonly recycled for use across the plastic packaging industry. The structural makeup of PVC is produced from vinyl chloride which makes it solid, but can be made more flexible with the addition of phthalates: this makes PVC particularly ideal for use in packaging soft drinks and fruit juice bottles. 

It is estimated that approximately 40 million tonnes of PVC are produced each year, with around 3% of this being recycled. This represents a major opportunity for plastic recycling companies, as due to its’ desirable durable quality can offer a high profit margin.

#4 LDPE – Low Density Polyethylene

Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), like HDPE, is a thermoplastic polymer made from the monomer ethylene. In comparison to HDPE, however, LDPE is a low density plastic that is often not recycled. Products that are commonly made out of LDPE include: film wrap (cling film), bubble wrap, and plastic bags used for shopping, cereals, and bread, among other uses.

Until now, recycling LDPE has often been a complex and demanding task. Due to it’s lightweight and flexible form, LDPE can often get caught in recycling machinery and requires a considerable amount of space to account for its large surface area. With the development of machinery like Rotajet’s range of plastic recycling equipment, LDPE is no longer a monumental task demanding an abundance of resources and manpower. Instead, Rotajet has developed a range of specially-designed machinery that is built to withstand the even the most unique demands of LDPE, as well as the demands of PET,
HDPE, PVC, PP, PS and other.

#5 PP – Polypropylene

Polystyrene (PP) is an ultra-lightweight synthetic aromatic hydrocarbon polymer that, due
to its insulating properties, is commonly used for making; takeaway food containers, take
away coffee cups, and beer coolers. Its molecular makeup also makes it ideal for use in
gardening equipment, appliances, electronics, toys, and automobile parts with the
addition of various additives and other plastics.


With PS being made up of 95% air, it presents new complexities to recycling. On top of
this, with PS commonly being used for containing food goods, it is often heavily
contaminated with foodstuffs such as oils and residue. Due to these complexities, it is
estimated that only around 12% of PS gets recycled, with the rest being sent to landfill.
Rotajet has taken all of these considerations into account when building solutions to
recycling PS. With machines like the Sink Float Tank and Plastic Washing Lines, Rotajet
has taken every measure to ensure that PS is managed and decontaminated properly,
ready for its resale into the plastic packaging market.

#6 PS – Polystyrene

Some example of plastics listed under the #7 recycling label include; BPA, polycarbonate and
LEXAN, among others.
With BPA (a type of xenoestrogen) being a common plastic product under the #7 label, there is
the unique risk involved with recycling #7 plastics relating to chemical leaching. Especially as #7
plastics are used for the making of items like; food containers, baby bottles and sippy cups, water
cooler bottles as well as various car parts, recycling #7 plastics can have potentially harmful
results. For this reason, #7 plastic is a non-recyclable plastic, and is often replaced for other
types, such as PET, HDPE, and LDPE.

#7 Unallocated References

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) is the term given to the polymer created by the fusion of two monomers: purified terephthalic acid and modified ethylene glycol. 

PET is the plastic-type often used to make plastic packaging for; cosmetic containers, plastic drinks bottles, prepared food/salad trays, edible oils, and mouthwash bottles.
Due to its prominence in the plastic packaging market, post-consumer PET is the most
commonly recycled type of plastic in the world; thereby offering a significant profit.

Contact Rotajet

We aim to get back to any inquiry within 12 hours, so please contact us if you are interested in a specific machine or would like to discuss an individual cleaning application. Our friendly team are happy to help via email at info@rotajet.co.uk or by phone on +44 (0) 1924 271446.