Is PS plastic recyclable


Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) - recycling code "01"

PET belongs to the polyester family and is best known as Material for disposable and returnable bottles for carbonated beverages. Outer packaging for fresh fruit and to-go salads or clear cups are also often made of PET.

PET is resistant to oils, fats, alcohols and diluted acids. It can also be coated with other plastics or aluminum, vapor-deposited or used in the form of composite materials.

PET is offered in three quality classes: non-crystalline or amorphous PET; is mechanically only slightly resilient. The continuous use temperature is between -40 ° C and + 60 ° C. However, it is transparent and is therefore also used for Food packaging such as used for snacks or ice cream.

Semi-crystalline PET is less transparent, but more stable. It is harder and more resilient than non-crystalline PET and has a higher barrier to oxygen and carbonic acid. It can be used continuously at temperatures between -20 ° C and + 120 ° C.

Fully crystalline PET is opaque and is often used for Microwave trays and mugs used.

Polyethylene (PE) - recycling code "02" and "04"

Polyethylene is a thermoplastic, i.e. a plastic that can be deformed under certain temperatures. Due to its properties and the comparatively low price, it is around 30% share of the most used plastic. One of its advantages is that PE very resistant to acids, alkalis, oils and fats and can therefore be used as a container for many different substances, including in the non-food sector.

By different manufacturing methods, polyethylene with a high density (HD-PE = high density polyethylene, recycling code "02") or polyethylene with a low density (LD-PE = low density polyethylene, recycling code "04") can be produced.

LD-PE is transparent and much more flexible compared to HD-PE. LD-PE is widely used in the food industry, mostly in combination with other materials for packaging films such as cling film. In addition, LD-PE is often used as a so-called sealing layer for carrier bags or for the inner coating of milk cartons. HD-PE, on the other hand, is milky white and stronger than LD-PE. It mainly happens at solid food packaging and carrier bags for use.

Depending on the type, polyethylene retains its properties over a temperature range of -60 ° C to + 85 ° C (= continuous operating temperature). Hence, it works well for Freezer bags and containers. In contrast, it is used less for microwave packaging or as a cooking bag material.

Since polyethylene has a high gas permeability, it can only be used for packaging with protective gases in connection with composite films. In order to maintain the protective gas atmosphere, the packaging must have certain barrier properties against oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapor.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) - recycling code "03"

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a plastic with a very wide range of uses, especially in the non-food area. It is hard and brittle in its original form, but can be made elastic and malleable by adding plasticizers. It also has a high resistance to acids, alkalis, alcohol and oil.

Rigid PVC is used in the food industry, among other things, for the production of Bottles for edible oils and vinegar or for packaging chocolates and sweets used.

Soft PVC is used, for example, to produce shrink film. This shrinks under the influence of heat and protects and stabilizes its contents during transport and storage. It is often used for the packaging of pallets or the outer packaging of PET beverage bottles. You can still find PVCFoils at fresh food counters. The use of the particularly critical hormone-active plasticizer DEHP is prohibited in packaging for fatty foods. Cling film in households today consist entirely of polyethylene, which does not contain any plasticizers.

In food packaging, plasticizers pose a risk of undesirable substances migrating into the food. This is why PVC has increasingly lost its importance in the food industry. In the meantime, however, it has been further developed so that cling film can also be made from it without plasticizers.

Polypropylene (PP) - recycling code "05"

Polypropylene is a relatively young plastic, chemically similar to polyethylene, but stronger and more temperature-resistant. Because of its good barrier properties against fat and moisture, it is one of the with most of the plastics used in food packaging.

It is used for containers or foils, depending on the manufacturing process, and comes with Cups, for example for dairy products, bottle caps, boil-proof foils and bowls that are heat-sealed for use. The continuous operating temperature is a maximum of 100 ° C, which is why it also becomes heat-resistant for the Microwave suitable vessels produced. It usually becomes brittle below 0 ° C.

Polystyrene (PS) - recycling code "06"

Polystyrene is one of the oldest plastics. Mainly it will be for Disposable drinking cups, lids with spouts for coffee mugs or disposable cutlery used. But yoghurt pots, packaging for honey, coffee cream, pastries and confectionery are also made from polystyrene.

As expanded polystyrene (expanded polystyrene hard foam = ESP), also known under the trade name Styrofoam, Polystyrene is used for the production of bases, bowls and containers for fish, meat, fruit, vegetables or for taking away meals in restaurants and snack bars.

Polystyrene is very inexpensive compared to other plastics. In addition, it has a high permeability for water vapor and gases and is odorless and tasteless, which is particularly advantageous for the storage of fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. The continuous use temperature is between -10 ° C and + 70 ° C.

Other plastics: Example polycarbonate (PC) and polyamide (PA)

Polycarbonate is a reaction product of carbonic acid dichloride (phosgene) and bisphenol A). It is characterized by its hardness, because it has high strength and is difficult to break.

Until 2011, polycarbonate was used in sterilizable baby bottles. Today you can still find it at Water dispensers, drinking bottles, microwave dishes and kitchen appliances. Because of the hormone-like effects of bisphenol A, its use in the food sector is now on the decline.

Since polycarbonate is transparent and colorless, it is also used to make spectacle lenses and optical lenses. Polycarbonate is also used as a raw material for CDs and can be found in thermal paper on receipts.

Polyamides are polymers based on peptide bonds. So there is a chemical relationship to protein molecules. A well-known representative from the group of polyamides is nylon. Most polyamides have high strength and toughness and are easy to process industrially. In the packaging sector, they are valued as a good barrier against oxygen and moisture.

They are used for Foils, sausage skins and as a barrier material in combination with other plastics, for example as a middle layer in PET beer bottles.

Together with polyethylene, multilayer films are created for vacuum packaging of oxygen-sensitive foods such as ham, cheese or sausages.