What’s the material for making plastic cups? Are they all recyclable?

Plastic cups are lightweight and can be transparent or colored. Various kinds of plastic cups are made from different materials by different molding processes. Here is everything you need to know about what’s the material for making plastic cups:


PP or Polypropylene Cups are the most popular type of plastic cups on the market today. They are made of a durable material that can resist temperatures up to 248°F (120°C). Plastic cups made of PP can be put into the microwave oven and reused after careful cleaning.

Polyethylene Terephthalate(PET)

PET plastic cups are clear, lightweight, and shatter-resistant. It is the most common type of plastic. It is particularly suitable for bottles and more flexible plastic materials because it is very durable and, if collected properly, it can be recycled and used for other PET. It is also the most common material used to make plastic cups because it is available in large quantities and is approved for contact with food materials.

This plastic is made from naphtha, part of the raw oil, and is made during the refining process, where the oil is broken down into naphtha, hydrogen, and other fractions. The petroleum extract naphtha is then turned into plastic through polymerization. This process joins ethylene and propylene to form polymer chains that eventually form PET plastic.

Recycled polyethylene terephthalate(RPET)

RPET stands for recycled polyethylene terephthalate or recycled PET. RPET is produced by collecting, sorting, and recycling PET, then refining the material into flakes that can be turned into new products. Using RPET as an alternative to PVC is a considerable step forward on the path toward a greener, safer and cleaner future. RPET is a more widely used general-purpose plastic, and more and more companies are trying to make their products from RPET rather than regular PET.

Are they all recyclable?

Polypropylene(PP) PP is among the most popular plastic packaging materials in the world. As Polypropylene recycling is difficult and expensive, only around 1-3% is recycled in the US, which means most PP is headed to the landfill. Here it degrades slowly and takes about 20-30 years to decompose completely.

Polyethylene Terephthalate(PET)

The most widely recycled plastic in the world is PET. The latest global statistics tell us that, in 2011, approximately 7.5 million tons of PET were collected worldwide. What can PET cups be recycled into? ET bottles can be recycled into… PET bottles!

They are made of one of the few polymers that can be recycled into the same form – a new beverage bottle – repeatedly. During the process, the PET is generally blended in a ratio of the virgin to recycled to give strength to the material for use in a new product.

Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate(RPET)

RPET is 100% recyclable, meaning it can be reintroduced into the loop many times, decreasing the need for resource extraction. RPET reduces plastic waste that would otherwise end up in landfills, oceans, or our backyards. rPET is taking the existing material and giving it a second life rather than using valuable energy and resources to produce a new raw material that cannot be recycled.

ZHXTOYS Factory has specialized in injection molding for 30 years. If you need advice and solutions to your problems with plastic, you can contact ZHXTOYS to resolve your queries.

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