Atlantic Poly Blog

The 7 Categories of Plastics and Disposal Guidelines

Darren Kincaid - Tuesday, August 31, 2010
All over the world, many types of plastic are commonly used. Plastic are given a numbering category or identification code for each different types so that it can be sorted and properly recycled. Each type of plastic melts at a different temperature and displays different properties. Many are biodegradable in nature. The identification system divides plastic into seven distinct types and uses a number code generally found on the bottom of containers. It is important to recycle bioplastics properly so they can be disposed of in a safe manner. While in one of our older posts we showed the 3 most popular recycling plastics, we feel it is helpful for you to know all seven of the icons. So if you do get a rare plastic, hopefully this blog will help you take proper disposal action.  The seven types of plastic are:
 
Plastic #1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE)
Common uses:Cooking oil bottles, 2 liter soda bottles, peanut butter jars. This is the most widely recycled plastic and often has redemption value.

Plastic #2: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Common uses: Heavy duty liners, detergent bottles, milk jugs, Heavy Duty HDPE Polyethylene plastic sheeting. A common plastic that is used, and recycled on a daily basis.

Plastic #3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Common uses: shrink wrap, salad dressing containers,plastic pipes, outdoor furniture, water bottles, and liquid detergent containers.

Plastic #4: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Common uses:Plastic Sheeting used in construction, trash can liners, dry cleaning bags, produce bags, food storage containers.

Plastic #5: Polypropylene (PP)
Common uses:Open top containers (sour cream, yogurt) bottle caps, drinking straws. Recycling centers almost never take #5 plastic.

Plastic #6: Polystyrene (PS)
Common uses:To-go "clam shell" containers, packaging pellets or "Styrofoam peanuts," cups, plastic tableware, and meat trays,. Many shipping/packaging stores will accept polystyrene peanuts and other packaging materials for reuse. Cups, meat trays, and other containers that have come in contact with food are more difficult to recycle.

Plastic #7: Other
Common uses:This is the category for any plastic that does not fall under the #1-#6. This may include certain kinds of food containers and Tupperware. Recycling centers cannot recycle plastic #7. Look for alternatives.

Those of us within the Atlantic Poly Environtech Division  like to think of ourselves as subject matter experts on recycling.  We manufacture and distribute multiple forms of plastic products. We know the characteristics and which types to utilize in any commercial or domestic application.   So call us anytime you have questions. 

Insight On The Chemical Make Up Of Polyethylene And Its Uses

Darren Kincaid - Monday, August 23, 2010
In this blog post we'd like to share with you the chemical strands and uses of polyethylene. Polyethylene, as we commonly know and popularly use at almost every purpose, is the most flexible, durable and chemically resistant material. Going by its chemical structures, you will find is made up of polyethylene molecules. According to structural variations, polyethylene molecules can broadly be differentiated into Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) and High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). LDPE is used in making plastic bags and other packaging materials while HDPE is used in developing containers, pipes, laundry detergent bottles, etc.

The polymers of High Density Polyethylene molecules are more opaque, stronger, harder and slightly heavier than Low Density Polyethylene. It is broadly composed of Carbon and Hydrogen. The other recycled polymeric ingredients of HDPE have made it a perfect component for pyrotechnics trade. Carbon black or UV-stabilizers are commonly used to make them resistant to weather and other reactive solvents.HDPE has a wide variety of industrial application in consumer products like, liquid distributor pipe, channels for domestic water supply, natural gas distributors, inner cable insulators, corrosion protectors for pipelines, plastic lumbers, sheds, ducts for telecoms and other cell liners for homogeneous supply and extrusions. HDPE is readily available in various forms like sheet or tubes for fabrication.

Another most popular nonmetallic polymer used in the poly industry is the Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). While we don't really deal with PVC, as it is mainly use for pipe-lining, we will be glad to offer you some insight into PVC. When used in underground pressure piping, PVC differs greatly in terms of strength, price of material, installation cost, and connection procedure.  

But in terms of widespread industrial applications, Polyethylene is king.  Both polyethylene materials (HDPE and LDPE) have successful track records in terms of capacity and utility rating. In fact, innumerable industries and consumers are getting massive cost of production benefit from the growing usability of polyethylene products...from plastic bags, to water tanks, domestic a
nd commercial pipeline distribution, and other applications too numerous to mention.

Slip Manufacturing Defined and Discussed

Darren Kincaid - Monday, August 16, 2010
Most of our blog posts have information about our products, how they work, or just the general specifications about polyethylene. We talked briefly about the history of how poly bags came to be and how they are widely used. In this blog we're going to get a bit technical to inform you what “slip” is and how it is manufactured in plastics. If you have never heard of slip before, we believe you’ll find this blog to be quite enlightening.  

Slip is an organic chemical that is added to the blend during film extrusion process to modify the coefficient of friction or COF. COF is a measurement of the amount of friction between two surfaces as they begin to slide and as they continue to drag against one another. The amount of energy it takes to put an object in motion is always greater than the amount of energy that it takes to keep it moving while it is in motion. Although there are a number of chemicals that are used to modify the COF, the two main ones used in Polyethylene and Polypropylene are Erucamide (which is considered a slow bloom) and Oleamide (which is a fast bloom.) The materials are sometimes called primary amides.

Slip is a very efficient molecule it has been added to a plastic film in very low concentrations typically 500 to 1500 parts per million. The slip additive can be let down at the levels of 1 to 3% by weight in blending while extruding the plastic film. Slip molecules are very low in molecular weight as compared to the polymer in which they are used. These molecules are somewhat incompatible because of their nature. This means the material is bi-polar and has one end that has a positive charge and the other has a neutral charge. This incompatibility causes the molecule to migrate referred to as bloom through the polymer to the surface of the plastic film. The more slip that migrates on the surface the lower the COF and the more slippery the plastic film becomes.

The COF relates to packaging because the substrates used to package objects always come in contact with other surfaces or themselves. As most packaging operations are very high speed, COF plays a very large role. The packaging material must have just the right COF in order to track properly on the packaging machines. If a material is too slippery the film will not track properly and may cause issues such as bad sealing or cause a powdery substance that builds up on the tracking rolls which will cause packaging failures. If a material becomes too sticky it can have the opposite effect listed above. It may not allow the film to un-wind properly and cause web brakes or other tracking problems. Either scenario can shut a packaging line down.

We enjoy educating our clients and the general public and appreciate your positive feedback for doing this.  An educated consumer benefits us all.    And of course, we always welcome your questions and feedback.  

Atlantic Poly Provides A Brief History On Polyethylene

Darren Kincaid - Monday, August 09, 2010
The history of manufactured plastics goes back more than 100 years; however, when compared to other materials, plastics are relatively modern. Their usage over the past century has enabled society to make huge technological advances. Although plastics are thought of as a modern invention, there have always been "natural polymers" such as amber, tortoise shells and animal horns. These materials behaved very much like today's manufactured plastics and were often used similar to the way manufactured plastics are currently applied. For example, before the sixteenth century, animal horns, which become transparent and pale yellow when heated, were sometimes used to replace glass.

Alexander Parkes unveiled the first man-made plastic at the 1862 Great International Exhibition in London. This material -- which was dubbed Parkesine, now called celluloid -- was an organic material derived from cellulose that once heated could be molded but retained its shape when cooled. Parkes claimed that this new material could do anything that rubber was capable of, yet at a lower price. He had discovered a material that could be transparent as well as carved into thousands of different shapes. Then in 1907, chemist Leo Hendrik Baekland, while striving to produce a synthetic varnish, stumbled upon the formula for a new synthetic polymer originating from coal tar. Baekland had coined "plastics" as the term to describe this completely new category of materials.

The first patent for polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a substance now used widely in vinyl siding and water pipes, was registered in 1914. Cellophane was also discovered during this period.

Plastics did not really take off until after the First World War, with the use of petroleum, a substance easier to process than coal into raw materials. Plastics served as substitutes for wood, glass and metal during the hardship times of World War's I & II.   After World War II, newer plastics, such as polyurethane, polyester, silicones, and polypropylene joined PVC in widespread applications. Many more would follow and by the 1960s, plastics were within everyone's reach due to their inexpensive cost. Plastics had thus come to be considered 'common' - a symbol of the consumer society.


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