Plastic marking: designation examples, decoding

Plastics are used in everyday life in absolutely all spheres of human activity. This is a convenient, durable and high-quality material that does not lend itself to corrosion, does not disappear, and so on. However, there is a rather serious problem with him. So, plastic practically does not decompose and requires a special approach to processing, depending on the type. In addition, it itself is quite toxic (at least some of its varieties). That is, it may not be used effectively for all needs.

Why is plastic marking needed?

To understand exactly how to properly process this or that type of material, as well as assess the danger from its use, plastic marking is used. It was introduced back in 1988, and since then, almost nothing has changed. All new types of plastic, one way or another, belong to one of the basic categories. It looks like three arrows going one after another in the form of a triangle. Inside it is a number, which is a code, and under the icon there is a letter designation indicating the type of material. For example, the marking of plastic bottles will look like a triangle of arrows, inside which are the numbers 01, and below is the inscription PET. This is true for most of these containers used as containers for food products. Those bottles used for storing paint or varnish may have different markings. But worst of all, when an incorrect mark is placed on a food container. At best, they just messed up. But this is a rarity. Most often, the manufacturer deliberately takes such a step in order to save. It is highly discouraged to purchase such products, as poisoning or other health problems are possible.

plastic marking

PET - marking on plastic

Sometimes the name sounds like PETE. It stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate Ethylene. It is used for the production of bottles for water, alcohol-free drinks, various juices, as well as washing and cleaning types of liquids. It is believed that this particular type of material is characterized by maximum purity and safety. Nevertheless, a lot depends on exactly how much liquid was in such a container. If the period is too long, the toxic elements from plastic will begin to fall into the water, which will make it unsuitable for consumption. It is highly recommended not to store liquids in a similar container for a long time, and also to use them repeatedly. This type of plastic is excellently processed. This allows you to create new products from it without polluting the environment. Materials that are not always created after such processing possess the same qualities and features as before. But still, there remains the opportunity to make a different type of product.

food grade plastic

HDPE marking

This is a special polyethylene characterized by high strength. The abbreviation stands for High Density Polyethylene. The icon looks exactly the same as the one above, but there are 02 digits inside, and HDPE on the bottom. This is exactly the substance from which various containers for washing or bleaching substances, all kinds of shampoos, and even for creating certain groups of packages are made. Like the previous variety, it is also food grade plastic, but more dangerous and rarely used. Especially when it is understood that the products will come into direct contact with it. That is, it is used to create some containers or something similar, where the products, if they are placed, are not in their pure form, but packed in another container.

pp plastic

PVC Type

This plastic marking stands for Polyvinyl hloride. If in Russian, then polyvinyl chloride. It is used to create a film for food products, a number of different bottles and so on. Despite the fact that a number of manufacturers really position the substance as safe, in fact it is very toxic. Plastic of this type can be very toxic and dangerous both for the environment and for the human body. The marking of plastic bottles made of this material is also visually identical to the previous ones, but there are numbers 03 inside, and the inscription on the bottom looks like PVC or just V. Another important point - for all its danger, this substance is very difficult to process. And even after the container was made from it, the output of the material obtained does not correspond to how much it was originally used. That is, it is simply extremely unprofitable to work with him. Nevertheless, this material is still actively used in various fields of activity.

labeling of plastic bottles

LDPE value

By this definition is meant low density polyethylene. Decrypted as Low Density Polyethylene. Conventionally, this substance can also be defined as food grade plastic. GOST marking indicates that this material is really not too toxic and may well be used when creating plastic bags. In addition, it is used in the production of many types of wrappers, as well as in the creation of bottles. In general, a rather inert substance, which, nevertheless, with prolonged interaction with products, is quite capable of giving them part of its toxic components. The icon is almost the same, but inside there is the number 04, and under it is the designation LDPE or PE-LD. Processing this type of material is also quite complicated, but it is already above the level of economic efficiency, so there are no problems with it like with the previous variety.

food grade plastic marking

PP plastic

Such a subspecies of material is used in cases where it is necessary to produce a container for yogurt, straws for drinks, food containers and even bottles for children. The mark looks like the same triangle with arrows, inside which are the numbers 05, and under the designation there is the inscription PP. It is believed that this is the safest type of material of all possible analogues. It is called PP plastic - polypropylene. However, as in all other cases, prolonged contact with food is also undesirable. Especially when it comes to children's products. For example, if you pour water for a child into a bottle of this material, you can not leave it for a long time. It should be regularly updated, and even better not to use the same packaging several times in a row. The same goes for other containers, for whatever purpose they were originally intended. Ideally, after a single use, they should immediately be sent for recycling.

labeling of plastic for recycling

PS marking

Such a substance is called polystyrene. The icon looks the same as in previous cases, but the numbers inside the triangle of arrows are 06, and the inscription below is PS. Such marking of plastic for processing means that it is used in the production of food packaging, utensils, appliances, containers for CDs and so on. At the same time, it is used in the manufacture of insulating boards, pens and the like. In general, the substance is conditionally hazardous, but mainly because it contains styrene. This component becomes truly toxic only when heated, so that in theory it can still be used as food grade plastic. That is, such products are great for storing food in the refrigerator, but it is not recommended to heat them in the microwave.

pet marking on plastic

Other plastics, or the mark “O”

Under this mark all other types of plastic appear. The vast majority of them are quite dangerous to health and the environment. Labeling of plastic type "O" is used on those products that are not intended for direct interaction with food, water and the like. Numerous groups of goods are made from them, which are used by man, but are not used when working with food. For example, a smartphone or other similar types of equipment can be made from such plastic. If a person has found such a mark on the packaging of a food product, it is not recommended to eat it, since there is a high probability of serious poisoning. A similar situation may not occur, but it will be better to be safe.


In general, plastic marking is an extremely useful invention of mankind. It allows ordinary people to understand the degree of danger from the use of various variations of materials or goods. Among other things, their processing is still the only way to more or less safely for the environment to cope with environmental pollution. Of course, the processing process itself can not be called the best method, but so far mankind has not come up with any more effective options.


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