What material is used for plastic toys?

Have you recently dipped your toes into the plastic toys manufacturing and wondered about the materials used for creating them? Here’s a comprehensive guide to the different materials.

Each of them has its characteristics. Remember that the use of inappropriate plastic materials will affect the performance and safety of the toy.

We hope the following information will help you better understand the health risks of the chemicals present in plastics and how to select safer, more sustainable toys for children.

Let us first make and understand the material of plastic toys.

Plastic toys are mainly made of polystyrene (PS), Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), polyvinylchloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), polycarbonate (PC), Polyethylene (PE), Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA), polyurethane (PU), polyester (PET)

Each material has its own characteristics and the use of inappropriate plastic materials will affect the performance as well as the safety of the toy. We hope the following information will help you better understand the health risks of the chemicals that may be present in plastics and how to select safer, more sustainable toys for children.

1. polystyrene (PS)

polystyrene (PS)

Polystyrene is a class of plastics including styrene groups in the macromolecular chain. The main varieties include

    • Ordinary polystyrene (GPPS)
    • High impact polystyrene (HIPS)
    • EPS and metallocene polystyrene (SPS)

Its characteristics are colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Polystyrene is a relatively old plastic, and through the years, its production process is also rather perfect.

PS has good transparency and surface gloss, is easy to dye, has high hardness, and good rigidity; in addition, there are good water resistance, chemical resistance, and processing flow performance.

Its main disadvantages are brittle, low impact strength, easy stress cracking, poor heat resistance, etc.

The main uses are as follows.

1, Electronic appliances: these can be used to manufacture televisions, tape recorders, various electrical instrument parts, shells, high-frequency capacitors, etc.

2、Construction: It is used to produce transparent parts of public buildings, optical instruments, and refined models, such as lampshades, instrument covers, packaging containers, etc.

3,Daily necessities: combs, boxes, toothbrush handles, ballpoint pen sticks, learning aids, children’s toys, etc.

4, Other aspects: It can be used for foam production of shockproof, sound insulation, thermal insulation, sandwich structure materials, refrigerators, trains, boats, airplanes, etc., also use them as heat insulation, good insulation, but also can be used to do life preservers, etc.

2. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene(ABS)

ABS stands for “acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene.” Acrylonitrile gives ABS resin chemical stability, oil resistance, stiffness, and hardness; butadiene improves toughness, impact, and cold resistance; styrene gives it good dielectric properties and processability.

It is a “tough, hard, rigid” material with easy access to raw materials, good overall performance, low price, and wide application. It is widely used in mechanical, electrical, textile, automobile, aircraft, ship, stroller toys, and other industries.

The dimensional stability is good, and the base granules can maintain a high degree of dimensional consistency. At the same time, ABS has high hardness and toughness and will not become brittle even at low temperatures (low-temperature resistance -40°). It is widely used in the ride on cars industry.

3. polyvinylchloride (PVC)

polyvinylchloride (PVC)

It is one of the most produced plastic products globally, cheap and widely used, and is a white or light yellow powder. Different additives can be added depending on the application, and PVC plastics can exhibit other physical and mechanical properties.

A variety of complex, soft, and transparent products can be made by adding the right amount of plasticizer to PVC resin.

The essential difference between PVC is that the plastic contains the element of chlorine inside, so it can not directly contact drinking water or food. Secondly, because the polarity of PVC plastic molecular chain is too large, poor plasticity often needs to add more than 40% of plasticizer (plasticizer).

It is widely used in construction materials, industrial products, daily necessities, floor leather, floor tiles, artificial leather, pipes, wires and cables, packaging films, bottles, foaming materials, sealing materials, fibers, etc.

On October 27, 2017, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer published a preliminary compilation of references to carcinogens, with polyvinyl chloride on the list of Category 3 carcinogens.

The most direct method of identification of PVC. Burning flame state: yellow on the green with smoke; the situation after leaving the fire: extinguished from the fire; smell: irritating acidic smell. This method is the most direct, generally the first choice.

The most direct method of identification of PVC.

Combustion method of identification.

Softening or melting temperature range: 75~90°C.

Combustion situation: self-extinguishing after ignition.

Burning flame state: yellow on the green with smoke; the situation after leaving the fire: extinguished from the fire; smell: irritating acidic smell.

This method is the easiest and most direct, generally as the first choice.

4. polypropylene (PP)

polypropylene (PP)

Polypropylene is a white waxy material with a transparent and light appearance.

With chemical resistance, heat resistance, electrical insulation, high strength mechanical properties, and good high wear resistance processing properties, polypropylene has been widely used in many fields such as machinery, automobiles, electronics, and electrical appliances.

Polypropylene has good mechanical properties and can be directly manufactured or modified to make various mechanical equipment parts, such as manufacturing industrial pipes, agricultural water pipes, motor fans, infrastructure templates, etc.

Modified polypropylene can be molded into bumpers, scuff bars, car steering wheels, dashboards, interior decorative parts, etc., significantly reducing the body’s weight to achieve the purpose of energy-saving. Therefore, pp is the most used plastic material for ride-on cars.

5. polycarbonate (PC)

polycarbonate (PC)

PC is an amorphous polymer available in an almost colorless glassy state with excellent optical properties. The primary performance defects of PC are not high enough hydrolytic stability resistance, sensitivity to chipping, resistance to organic chemicals, poor scratch resistance, and yellowing with long-term exposure to UV light.

As with other resins, PC is susceptible to erosion by certain organic solvents. Some of the characters this element boasts are:

a. High strength and elasticity, high impact strength, wide temperature range.

b. High transparency and free dyeing.

c. High H.D.T.

d. Poor fatigue resistance.

e. Good weather resistance.

f. Excellent electrical characteristics.

g. Tasteless, odorless, and harmless to the human body in line with health and safety.

h. Low forming shrinkage and good dimensional stability.

6. Polyethylene (PE)

kids toys

Polyethylene is tPolyethylene is tasteless, odorless, and non-toxic, with a lusterless surface and milky white wax-like particles. Insoluble in water, slightly soluble in hydrocarbons, etc.

It is resistant to most acids and bases, has little water absorption, remains flexible at low temperatures, and has high electrical insulation properties. This is mainly used to produce film products, hollow containers of various sizes for daily and industrial use, tubes, calendering and lacing for packaging, etc.

7. Ethylene Vinyl Acetate(EVA)

Ethylene Vinyl Acetate(EVA)

Compared with polyethylene (PE), EVA is widely used in foamed shoes, functional scaffolding films, packaging molds, hot melt adhesives, wires and cables, and toys.

Due to the introduction of vinyl acetate monomer in the molecular chain, which reduces high crystallinity and improves toughness, impact resistance, filler compatibility, and heat sealing properties, EVA resin is also used in toys, ride-on cars, wheels, seats, etc.

8. Polyurethane (PU)

Polyurethane (PU)

It has high strength, high abrasion resistance, and solvent resistance. It is the main component that constitutes the rubber compressed air hose.

9. polyester (PET)

polyester (PET)

PET is a highly crystalline milky white or light yellow polymer with a smooth and glossy surface. It has the following characteristics.

a. Good mechanical properties, the impact strength is 3~5 times of other films, good folding resistance.

b. Resistant to oil, fat, dilute acid and alkali, and most solvents.

c. It can be used in the temperature range of 55-60℃ for a long time, 65℃ for a short time, and -70℃ for a low temperature, and its mechanical properties are little affected by high and low temperatures.

d. Low gas and water vapor permeability, both excellent resistance to gas, water, oil, and odor performance.

e. High transparency, UV blocking, good gloss.

f. Non-toxic, tasteless, good health and safety, can be directly used for food packaging.


The above is the performance analysis of 9 kinds of plastic materials often used in plastic toys for more than 30 years of history of our factory. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us for discussion, and we would love to assist you.

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