When the average person speaks about plastic, they are often referring to it as though it were one type of material. This isn't accurate. A more accurate way to categorize plastic would be to describe it as a blanket term encompassing a number of different materials, with different qualities. If you're considering plastic as a material choice for an object or product design, it's helpful to have a general idea what type of plastic will be a better option.


A popular type of plastic is polyurethane. In many ways, this material is best compared to rubber because of its ability to offer a high-level of cushioning, while also being flexible and durable. It is derived from a process in which polymers are mixed with a chemical blend to make it denser.

Although it is formulated with a chemical solution, it is both safe and recyclable. This form of plastic is a suitable option for objects in which cushioning, flexibility and durability are very important, such as footwear or door dampers.

Biodegradable Plastics

Biodegradable plastics are designed to degrade when they come in contact with certain organisms or bacteria, including those found in substances like water or in gases like carbon dioxide, making them safer for the environment than some other plastics.

Since this material is degradable, it's not suitable for all types of objects. It is best paired with those objects that will have a short usage life, such as plastic cutlery, food packing, plastic bags or even plant pots. If you're looking for an environmentally friendly material, biodegradable plastics afford this benefit.

Epoxy Resins

One factor that makes epoxy resins appealing is their higher melting point. One downfall that many plastics have is the fact that they don't hold up well in elevated levels of heat without some surface damage. However, epoxy resins are mixed with hardeners and curing agents to increase their heat resistance.

If you're looking for the affordability of plastic, but have a design need that requires higher levels of heat resistance, this material is a good choice to consider. Some of the applications this plastic is a great match for include outdoor furniture, electrical components, tools and adhesive materials.  

Having a general idea of what types of plastic are available can assist you with making a more informed decision. However, you should ultimately be relying on the skill of a professional, such as Industrial Plastics & Paints, to ensure you are making the appropriate selection.