Plastics explained

Material

Common name

Origin

Regarded as bio degradable?

How long would it take to biodegrade in landfill

Used for clothing?

Plastic code

*Recyclable?

**Reusable?

Common usage

Cotton

Plant

Yes

3-6 months

Yes

Wool

Animal

Yes

1-5 years

Yes

Silk, Bamboo, jute, hemp

Plant

Yes

6 months -5 years

Yes

Regenerated protein fibre

Corn, Soy, milk

Yes

6 months -5 years

Yes

Regenerated  cellulose fibre

Rayon, Viscose, Lyocell

Plant   (Wood pulp)

Yes

3-12 months

Yes

Cellulose Acetate

CA

Plant   (Wood pulp)

No

Several years

Yes

Polyethylene terephthalate

PET

polyester

Crude oil

No

Hundreds of years

Yes

1

Yes

No

Polyamide

PA

Nylon

Crude oil,

No

Hundreds of years

Yes

Polyurethane fibre

Elastane, Lycra, Spandex

Crude ol

no

Hundreds of years

Yes

Polyvinyl chloride

PVC

Crude oil

No

Hundreds of years

Yes

3

No

No

Flexible plastic eg food wrapping, window frames

Acrylic

Crude oil

No

Hundreds of years

Yes

High-density Polyethylene

HDPE

Crude oil

No

Hundreds of years

No

2

Yes

Yes

Hard plastic

Eg toys, waste bins

Low-density Polyethylene

LDPE

Crude oil

No

Hundreds of years

No

4

No

Yes

Shrink wrap, grocery bags

Polypropylene

PP

Crude oil

No

Hundreds of years

No

5

Sometimes

Sometimes

Moisture and grease proof packaging

Polystyrene

PS

Crude oil

No

Hundreds of years

No

6

No

No

Lightweight containers and fillers

Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene

ABS

Crude oil

No

Hundreds of years

No

Polytetrafluoroethylene

PTFE

Crude oil

No

Hundreds of years

No

Polycarbonate of bisphenol A

PC

Polycarbonate

Crude oil

No

Hundreds of years

No

Polymethyl methacrylate

PMMA

Crude oil

no

Hundreds of years

No

 

 

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