Different Types of Plastics and SPI Codes Used to Classify Them


In today’s market, numerous different types of plastics available, all of which are constructed differently and vary in their recyclability. For an eco-friendly facility, building with sustainable materials that are recyclable and come from recycled materials is important to consider. To ensure that you make the best choice, look at the SPI codes of potential plastic materials.

An SPI (Society of the Plastics Industry) code segments the different plastics on the market based on their materials and how they should be recycled. Continue reading to learn about which materials have SPI codes and what they mean to you.

Different Types of Plastics

SPI Code 1: PETE or PET

Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE or PET) is the common plastic material used for water bottles of all sizes and jars for common kitchen goods such as peanut butter. When recycled, PETE is used to make textiles and fabrics such as tote bags and carpets and sometimes even to line clothing.

SPI Code 2: HDPE

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic is a safe material, as it doesn’t give off any harmful chemicals. It’s commonly used to make containers for shampoo, detergents, and motor oil, but when recycled, it can be used for plastic lumber, fencing, or bathroom partition materials.

SPI Code 3: PVC

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is mostly used for pipes and tiles. When recycled, it’s used as flooring, walls, and industrial-grade materials.

SPI Code 4: LDPE

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is a durable and flexible plastic that’s safe for food storage and used for plastic and Ziploc bags. While not commonly recyclable, LDPE can be used as garbage can material, furniture, and other common household products.

SPI Code 5: PP

Polypropylene (PP) is the plastic material that makes up Tupperware, stadium cups, and prescription bottles. While it’s infrequently accepted for recycling compared with materials such as HDPE or PETE, it can be used for durable items such as rakes or ice scrapers.

SPI Code 6: Polystyrene

Polystyrene (Styrofoam) isn’t a plastic material that can be recycled efficiently. Recycling Styrofoam requires a lot of energy, but when the process is undertaken, recycled Styrofoam can be used to create insulation and objects such as license plate frames and rulers.

SPI Code 7: Other Plastics

The SPI Code 7 materials are any plastics that don’t fall into the previous six categories, such as polycarbonates and polylactides, which are difficult to recycle. These materials are most commonly seen as compact discs, storage containers, and baby bottles. However, the other materials that fall into this category that are recyclable can be used for plastic lumber.

Noting the SPI codes of your intended plastic materials can help you to make sure you use sustainable materials that aren’t harmful to your customers.

Scranton Products specialize in the usage of safe and recyclable HDPE plastic for our materials. Learn more about the benefits of choosing sustainable materials through the eBook below.

different types of plastics