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A simple fact: Not all plastics are equal. No.. no no no, this is far from factual. Haven’t you ever noticed the small little triangle identification symbols located on the bottom of various plastic items such as bottles, containers… barricades?? Check it and see for yourself. In the meantime, let’s learn a little bit about these symbols.

Not all plastic barricades are made the same. Don’t believe us, see for yourself!

The infamous seven groups of plastic polymers, each with specific properties, are used worldwide for packaging applications (see table below). Each group of plastic polymer can be identified by its Plastic Identification code (PIC) – usually a number or a letter abbreviation. For instance, Low-Density Polyethylene can be identified by the number 4 and/or the letters “LDPE”. The PIC appears inside a three-chasing arrow recycling symbol. The symbol is used to indicate whether the plastic can be recycled into new products.

The PIC was introduced by the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. which provides a uniform system for the identification of different polymer types and helps recycling companies to separate different plastics for reprocessing. Manufacturers of plastic products are required to use PIC labels in some countries/regions and can voluntarily mark their products with the PIC where there are no requirements. Consumers can identify the plastic types based on the codes usually found at the base or at the side of the plastic products, including food/chemical packaging and containers. The PIC is usually not present on packaging films, as it is not practical to collect and recycle most of this type of waste.

The Seven Groups

Plastic Identification Code Type of plastic polymer Properties Common Packaging Applications
Plastic-recyc-01.svg Polyethylene terephthalate (PET, PETE) Clarity, strength, toughness, barrier to gas and moisture. Soft drink, water and salad dressing bottles; peanut butter and jam jars
Plastic-recyc-02.svg High-density polyethylene (HDPE) Stiffness, strength, toughness, resistance to moisture, permeability to gas. Water pipes, Hula-Hoop (children’s game) rings, Milk, juice and water bottles; the occasional shampoo / toiletry bottle
Plastic-recyc-03.svg Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Versatility, clarity, ease of blending, strength, toughness. Juice bottles; cling films; PVC piping
Plastic-recyc-04.svg Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) Ease of processing, strength, toughness, flexibility, ease of sealing, barrier to moisture. Frozen food bags; squeezable bottles, e.g. honey, mustard; cling films; flexible container lids.
Plastic-recyc-05.svg Polypropylene (PP) Strength, toughness, resistance to heat, chemicals, grease and oil, versatile, barrier to moisture. Reusable microwaveable ware; kitchenware; yogurt containers; margarine tubs; microwaveable disposable take-away containers; disposable cups; plates.
Plastic-recyc-06.svg Polystyrene (PS) Versatility, clarity, easily formed Egg cartons; packing peanuts; disposable cups, plates, trays and cutlery; disposable take-away containers;
Plastic-recyc-07.svg Other (often polycarbonate or ABS) Dependent on polymers or combination of polymers Beverage bottles; baby milk bottles; electronic casing.

Chart provided by Wikipedia

Know Your Plastics

It is essential that you know where the plastic is coming from, who made it and how they made it. This goes to show that not all plastics are equal… this same philosophy applies to barricades and barriers. Even though one may be less money, look the same and even go as far as having the exact same mold, chances are that the classification and/or recyclable products utilized is quite different! We challenge you to to find a product which represents the safe, fulfilling, and high innovative technology we use, and then simply compare and contrast. We promise, what you find will be awesome.

Let our “green” thinking flow into your projects as well.


Government Sales

Andrew Bergholz
Title: Vice President of Sales
TAPCO (Traffic & Parking Control Co., Inc.)
Email: andrew@tapconet.com
GSA Contract: #GS-07F-5924R
Direct Phone: 262-814-7338