Commodity plastics (resins) are the major products that account for the bulk of the plastics. These comprise of Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Polystyrene. Let us understand the comparative properties and applications of these top 4 plastic (or resin) types in this article.
1) Polyethylene (PE)
PE is the most largely used plastic raw-material by the Indian industry accounting for 43% of share in the country. The types of Polyethylene (PE) include HDPE (High-Density PE), LLDPE (Linear Low-Density PE) and LDPE (Low-Density PE).
2) Polypropylene (PP)
PP accounts for 24% of total consumption in India. It is not as tough as PE but is less brittle than PE. It is stiffer than other plastic types, translucent or opaque and has good resistance to fatigue. It has a melting point of 160 degrees Celsius.
Applications: It is used in bottle caps and closures, syrup bottles, drinking straws, hinged containers, battery cases, dairy containers (e.g. sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt), cereal box liners, and takeout meals.
3) Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
PVC demand has been growing at a rate of 10% per annum in India. It consists of 57% of chlorine and e requires less petroleum to manufacture it. It is the third most widely used plastic after PE and PP. It offers clarity, strength, processing performance, and resistance to oil and chemicals.
Applications: It is used in pipes, electrical wire insulation, clothing, bags, upholstery, tubing, flooring, waterbeds, pool toys, chemical spray bottles, blister packs, and bags for medical.
4) Polystyrene (PS)
It is made from petroleum. It is colorless, hard with limited flexibility, and offers excellent optical clarity. It has a good moisture barrier, significantly stiff, with low thermal conductivity and excellent insulation properties. It can be cast into molds with fine detail and can be made to take on various colors.
Applications: It is used in bottle caps, drinking straws, vitamin bottles, rigid food containers like yogurt cups, food service items such as bowls, plates, cups, cutlery, clear carryout containers, spoons, knives and forks, meat and produce trays, egg cartons, and food containers.
An organized development addressing cost-effective plastic processing along with streamlining operations of recycling of plastics could pave a growth path for downstream plastic manufacturers in India.