Of the different building materials available today, the one that has probably had the biggest effect on modern society is plastic.
While rubber was used during ancient times, it’s only thanks to the industrial revolution that plastic as we know it has been widely adopted for a variety of different uses.
Whether you run a big company or just a household, chances are you probably need to buy plastic products for many different purposes.
However, what should you really know about plastic? Knowing more about it can make you a more informed consumer.
The Many Different Varieties of Plastic
Since plastic is an artificial creation that was brought about by chemistry, there are a huge number of different varieties of plastics that have been created to meet different needs by chemists and manufacturers.
Simply deciding you want to purchase a product made from plastic will not be adequate. Instead, you have many different materials with scientific names to choose from. Some of these varieties of plastic are very different from one another.
One example is polyethylene terephthalate. This is a kind of plastic often used for food storage such as in water bottles.
This kind of plastic is very different from polystyrene. This form of plastic is more commonly known as styrofoam, and today, it is mostly used in insulation.
Polyethylene, another type of plastic, comes in two distinct varieties. This includes high-density polyethylene and low-density polyethylene.
LDPE, short for low-density polyethylene, you may be familiar with from plastic grocery bags. Alternatively, HDPE is much stronger and is used for things like laundry detergent bottles.
The Different Plastic Manufacturing Processes
However, it’s not only the type of plastic that matters in regards to a product created from it. The manufacturing processes used can also have a big impact on the different properties of a piece of plastic.
Consider, for example, plastic that has been molded using a rotational molding process. This involves the use of a mold made out of aluminum or steel.
The plastic is inserted into the heated mold that is then rotated to produce the shape desired. This plastic manufacturing process has some really strong benefits over others.
It produces extremely durable plastic products that have a near-infinite lifespan. It is used to manufacture toys, trash receptacles, children’s slides, agricultural tanks, and many other strong plastic products.
The Recyclability of Different Kinds of Plastic
One of the great advantages of plastic is its durability. It is more durable than many other materials available.
However, this benefit can also be a drawback in regards to its possible impact on the environment. Due to the fact it breaks down so incredibly slowly, it can quickly fill up landfills.
When it does break down, its chemical composition could lead to health dangers for people and animals.
Thankfully, plastic can be recycled to avoid these issues. However, not every kind of plastic can be easily recycled. Kinds of plastic that can’t be recycled include polypropylene, polystyrene, and low-density polyethylene.
Take this into consideration especially if you want to be more eco-friendly with your plastic choices.
The Quality of Manufactured Plastic
Another factor you should consider when buying plastic products is the track record of the manufacturer in question.
Like in every industry, certain manufacturers may produce high-quality products while others may be known for cost-cutting and low standards.
Poorly manufactured plastic can lead to some serious issues. It could lead to products that easily crack and quickly become junk.
It could lead to products that break due to the low molecular weight of the plastic. It could even lead to products that are not safe for human contact due to the leaking of chemicals.
Overall, you should only buy plastic products from a manufacturer with high standards for both quality and safety.
Overall, plastic isn’t as simple as it may seem. It took chemists and scientists many years to develop and refine. Many different kinds of plastic are manufactured into products in different ways.
As a result, there can be a huge difference in the physical properties and quality of different plastic products.
Consider all of these factors when shopping for the right products for you or your company’s needs.