The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI) introduced its resin identification coding system in 1988 at the urging of recyclers around the country. A growing number of communities were implementing recycling programs in an effort to decrease the volume of waste subject to tipping fees at landfills. In some cases, these programs were driven by state-level recycling mandates.
The SPI code was developed to meet recyclers’ needs while providing manufacturers a consistent, uniform system that could apply nationwide. Because municipal recycling programs traditionally targeted packaging - primarily containers – the SPI coding system offered a means of identifying the resin content of bottles and containers commonly found in the residential waste stream. Recycling firms have varying standards for the plastics they accept. Some firms may require that the plastics be sorted by type and separated from other recyclables; some may specify that mixed plastics are acceptable if they are separated from other recyclables; while others may accept all material mixed together. Not all types of plastics are generally recycled, and recycling facilities may not be available in some areas.Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE)Descriptions
PET is clear, tough, and has good gas and moisture barrier properties. Commonly used in soft drink bottles and many injection molded consumer product containers. Other applications include strapping and both food and non-food containers. Cleaned, recycled PET flakes and pellets are in great demand for spinning fiber for carpet yarns, producing fiberfill and geo-textiles. Nickname: Polyester.Properties
Clarity, strength, toughness, barrier to gas and moisture, resistance to heat.Packaging Applications
Plastic soft drink, water, sports drink, beer, mouthwash, catsup and salad dressing bottles. Peanut butter, pickle, jelly and jam jars. Ovenable film and ovenable prepared food trays.Recycled Products
Fiber, tote bags, clothing, film and sheet, food and beverage containers, carpet, strapping, fleece wear, luggage and bottles.High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)Descriptions
HDPE is used to make bottles for milk, juice, water and laundry products. Unpigmented bottles are translucent, have good barrier properties and stiffness, and are well suited to packaging products with a short shelf life such as milk. Because HDPE has good chemical resistance, it is used for packaging many household and industrial chemicals such as detergents and bleach. Pigmented HDPE bottles have better stress crack resistance than unpigmented HDPE bottles.Properties
Stiffness, strength, toughness, resistance to chemicals and moisture, permeability to gas, ease of processing, and ease of forming.Packaging Applications
Milk, water, juice, cosmetic, shampoo, dish and laundry detergent bottles; yogurt and margarine tubs; cereal box liners; grocery, trash and retail bags.Recycled Products
Liquid laundry detergent, shampoo, conditioner and motor oil bottles; pipe, buckets, crates, flower pots, garden edging, film and sheet, recycling bins, benches, dog houses, plastic lumber, floor tiles, picnic tables, fencing.Vinyl (Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC)Descriptions
In addition to its stable physical properties, PVC has excellent chemical resistance, good weatherability, flow characteristics and stable electrical properties. The diverse slate of vinyl products can be broadly divided into rigid and flexible materials. Bottles and packaging sheet are major rigid markets, but it is also widely used in the construction market for such applications as pipes and fittings, siding, carpet backing and windows. Flexible vinyl is used in wire and cable insulation, film and sheet, floor coverings synthetic leather products, coatings, blood bags, medical tubing and many other applications. Properties
Versatility, clarity, ease of blending, strength, toughness, resistance to grease, oil and chemicals. Packaging Applications
Clear food and non-food packaging, medical tubing, wire and cable insulation, film and sheet, construction products such as pipes, fittings, siding, floor tiles, carpet backing and window frames. Recycled Products
Packaging, loose-leaf binders, decking, paneling, gutters, mud flaps, film and sheet, floor tiles and mats, resilient flooring, cassette trays, electrical boxes, cables, traffic cones, garden hose, mobile home skirting.