Is styrene still in plastic today


Plastic is not just plastic. There are standardized abbreviations to distinguish between the different types of what is important for collection and recycling. This describes the plastic mainly contained in the product. For example, PET stands for poly-ethylene terephthalate and PVC for poly-vinyl chloride. There is also a number from 1 to 7 in a triangle of arrows. The code and abbreviation can be found on the bottom or bottom of the packaging.

What does the term plastic mean?

We usually refer to plastics as plastic. Most plastics are based on petroleum. Carbon compounds are made from this and mixed with various additives. This results in various properties of the end product.
Many of our everyday objects are made of plastic or at least have components made of it. Durability and malleability are a major reason for mass use.
By the way, polyethylene is the most commonly used plastic worldwide, accounting for around 38%. Unfortunately, plastic products are often thrown away after only one use, such as plastic bags.

Microplastics in the human body

In a pilot study by the Federal Environment Agency and the Medical University of Vienna, microplastics were found in the human organism for the first time.
The results are currently being presented at the international UEG gastroenterology congress in Vienna. Nine different types of plastic ranging in size from 50 to 500 micrometers were detected, most commonly PP (polypropylene) and PET (polyethylene terephthalate).

Microplastics (particles smaller than 5 millimeters) enter the environment through cosmetic products, but mainly through unwanted crushing, abrasion or decomposition of larger plastic parts. It is estimated that two to five percent of the 400 million tons of plastic produced each year ends up in the oceans. Crushed and ingested by marine animals, they can reach humans via the food chain.
It is very likely that food will come into contact with plastics - and thus also with microplastics - during processing or through packaging.
The current study forms the basis for further investigations to further research the effects of found microplastic particles on the human organism - especially on the digestive tract.

Federal Environment Agency Study: Microplastics in the human body

Look at the labeling. In everyday life, pay attention to which plastics you use and try to reduce the amounts. Separate consistently, because that way you can relieve the environment.

What do code and abbreviations mean

01 PET - polyethylene terephthalate

The acetaldehyde and antimony trioxide contained in it can be released into the liquid stored in it over time. At higher temperatures and solar radiation, the proportion of substances that can get into the food increases (“chemical” taste). It is best to protect the bottles from heat and do not pour hot liquids into them.

e.g. beverage bottles, packaging, polyester fibers etc.

02 PE-HD - high density polyethylene

Not considered to be a health hazard, but it is polluting. Estrogen-like chemicals may be included. HD stands for density.

e.g. washing-up liquid, detergent or cleaning agent bottles, packaging, kitchen utensils

03 PVC - polyvinyl chloride

Plasticizers (phthalates) first make PVC pliable and pliable, but are considered to be harmful to reproduction (infertility, cancer) and are therefore hazardous to health.

Rigid PVC: window profiles, drainage pipes etc .;
Soft PVC: floor coverings, children's toys, hoses, synthetic leather, swimming rings, seals, etc.
Avoid at all costs

04 PE-LD - low density polyethylene

Polyethylene is not considered a health hazard, but it is considered polluting. LD stands for density.

e.g. foils, plastic tubes, plastic bags and sacks

05 PP - polypropylene

Not considered harmful to health, but polluting the environment.

e.g. cups, food packaging, plastic bags

06 PS - polystyrene

Better known under the trade name Styrofoam is basically recyclable, but the technology is not yet widespread enough and is therefore currently considered to be environmentally polluting. If Styrofoam or polystyrene foam is heated, styrene can be released, which is considered to be carcinogenic.

E.g. foams, cups, bowls for food packaging, insulation

07 O - O (Other) stands for "other plastics"

All other types of plastic fall into this.

e.g. microwave dishes, CD cases, drinking bottles, receipts, coatings, etc.
It's a very diverse group.

  • PC - polycarbonate (CDs, DVDs, glass substitutes for bottles) as well as epoxy resins (inner coating of food cans) contain bisphenol A (BPA), which affects the hormonal balance even in the smallest quantities. The substance is associated with disorders in sexual development, hyperactivity, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
    Avoid at all costs    
  • PMMA - polymethyl methacrylate (Plexiglas, acrylic glass - glass replacement, car headlights, optics, watch glasses, jewelry, etc.)
  • ABS - acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer (Toys, electrical appliances, ect.). ABS is also used in 3D printers. 99% recyclable by type.
  • GRP - glass fiber reinforced plastic (Fiberglass - car, ship and aircraft construction, pipes, bathtubs, etc.)
  • Often are too biodegradable plastics marked with 07. The rotting time of bio-plastic takes a relatively long time. Therefore, bio-plastic is incompletely broken down in large fast composting plants and is often sorted out. Bio-plastic has no nutritional value for the microorganisms in the compost!

Plastic pollution

The recycling rate for plastics is increasing. Unfortunately, only small amounts are recycled. At the same time, the amount of plastic waste is also increasing.

Plastic is doubly harmful to the environment. On the one hand from oil extraction to production and on the other hand with disposal. When burned, toxins are released and dumped plastic often ends up in rivers and the sea. The finest plastic particles are now perceived as food by plankton-eating animals. With the result that these animals starve to death.


we-live-sustainably: cosmetics without microplastics
we-live-sustainably: microplastics from textiles Packaging material part 1 Packaging material part 2

“Die Umweltberatung”: plastic
Greenpeace: plastic campaign
German Environment Agency: Garbage in the sea
Alfred Wegener Institute: Plastic Litter in the Sea
Reset: plastic in the sea