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Types of Plastic and what the symbols on the underside of plastic items mean ?

Plastics are widely used to make household products such as bottles, containers, etc. to more specialized high-end plastic items such as chemical tanks, equipment covers, etc. There are many types of plastic with different characteristics. certain range and number of uses standards to ensure human health safety and product longevity. Types of thermoplastics that can be regenerated many times, such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA), poly butadiene (PB), poly ethylene tere phthalate (PET) ,…

Usually, on the back or bottom of plastic product bottles, there are some symbols representing numbers. This number is located between the triangle with the arrows and can be found on the cover or on the bottom of plastic products. This is also a way for us to distinguish and choose plastic items for their intended use, to minimize the migration of toxic substances into food. Below are some symbols and number meanings in plastic products.

1 – PET (Polyethylene terephthalate)

This is the symbol of a bottle that can only be used once. If continued use, there is a risk that heavy metals and chemicals will flow inside them, affecting the hormone balance in the body. PET plastic is one of the types commonly used in household products, such as bottles of mineral water, soft drinks, beer and packaging such as tomato sauce, jam, and jelly.

In addition, this type of bottle made from PET material is very difficult to clean and easily breeds bacteria. In particular, Polyethylene Terephthalates can leak a carcinogenic substance. Therefore, after use, you should throw away water bottles with this symbol and do not reuse them. If reused to store water hotter than 70 degrees Celsius, it will not only deform but also decompose substances harmful to health. This plastic product, if used for more than 10 months, can produce carcinogenic substances. There are some issues to be aware of as antimony, a metallic element with toxic qualities, leaks from PET. Leakage rate increases with temperature.


HDP/HDPE (high density thermoplastic) is used to make hard plastic bottles such as milk bottles, detergent bottles, cooking oil, toys and some plastic bags. In addition, HDPE is also used to make plastic bags, insulation materials or plastic pipes. Polyethylene is the most popular plastic family in the world with great flexibility, durability, and moisture resistance. This type of plastic does not emit toxic substances, so it is often chosen because it is the safest of all plastics.

3: PVC hoặc 3V (Polyvinyl clorua)

Stay away from all types of plastic bottles that have these two symbols on them. If accidentally used incorrectly, they will directly affect the hormones in your body. This is a soft, flexible plastic used for food packaging, children’s and pets’ toys, plastic pipes, parts for water pipes… Therefore, it is very toxic.
PVC is a soft and flexible plastic, commonly used to produce food packaging
transparent, cooking oil bottles, toys, plastic bags, credit cards, oil bottles, plastic toys, cleaning fluid, blood bags, tablecloths and other construction materials. PVC is considered a toxic plastic but is still the most widely used in consumer products in the world, after polyethylene, due to its low cost, flexibility, durability and transparency..

4 – Symbol LDPE

These are bottles made from the safest plastic and can be reused many times. LDPE belongs to the Polyethylene plastic family but has a lower density than HDPE. However, it still retains basic properties such as flexibility, toughness, and good moisture resistance. But according to some documents, products containing this substance should not be heated in the microwave, avoid high temperatures because it will release toxic chemicals. Although no chemicals are released during use. But LDPE material is not used in the production of water bottles and plastic bags. This type of plastic is found in some parts of furniture, clothes or bags.

5 – PP symbol

PP is the abbreviation for polypropylene plastic, a hard, very light plastic with excellent heat resistance. Containers, plastic bottles, food containers, straws… are therefore completely safe for you to recycle or use. Please feel secure when your water bottles and utensils have this symbol. PP plastic is durable and lightweight, can withstand temperatures of 167 degrees Celsius, so it can be reused and rotated in the microwave.
wave. PP also resists moisture and grease very well.

6: PS (polystyrene)

Say no to plastic bottles and utensils made from this PS material. Polystyrene is a cheap plastic that can leach carcinogens if you recycle and use it many times. Single-use items are often made from PS plastic such as foam bags, drinking glasses, coffee or fast food wrappers..

Number 7 symbols, OTHER symbols or no symbols

Large water bottles, juice bottles, ketchup bottles, glasses, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, many home appliances, cars and even baby bottles will have the number 7 on them. bottom of the bottle. This is a type of plastic or plastic mixture that does not belong to the above types. It’s hard to know for sure what type of toxins are in No. 7 plastics because they vary so much, but there’s a very good chance they’re polycarbonate. If they contain bisphenol-A (BPA) or Bisphenol-S (BPS), it’s bad. BPA and BPS are both endocrine disorders that interfere with the body’s hormones, affecting mood, body growth and development, tissue function,
metabolism, sexual function and fertility.
PC (poly carbonate) is the most dangerous type of plastic, easily producing carcinogens and BPA. Absolutely do not recycle when your water bottle has this PC symbol on it. For health safety, quickly check your water bottles and plastic items before buying or recycling.. 

What about 3D printed plastic materials?

Currently, there are many 3D printing plastic brands (ABS, PLA), even cheap 3D plastic products without labels. At 3DPLUS, we use (actually during the process of providing 3D printing services) and wholesale/retail 3D printing filament materials with trademarks and accompanying safety standards such as RoHS, CE, ingredient list. chemicals… If you are interested, you can see 3D printed plastic products directly