Polystyrene plastic is often the lowest-cost option when rigidity and durability are required. This easily processed thermoplastic is stiff but brittle and has been widely used since the 1940s. Today, the material enjoys unparalleled use in products found inside homes, businesses and industries around the world.
Polystyrene plastic can be processed through several methods, including plastic injection molding or extrusion for plastic polystyrene sheets. Two types of polystyrene plastic, General Purpose Polystyrene (GPPS), also known as Crystal Polystyrene, and High-Impact Polystyrene (HIPS), are among the most popular thermoplastics used in consumer goods applications. Styrene is the building block of polystyrene and has been used in consumer products for more than 70 years.
As members of the polystyrene plastic family of materials, GPPS and HIPS share moisture resistance, durability, FDA compliance of some grades and recyclability. However, each offers unique characteristics including:
The food packaging industry utilizes GPPS and HIPS more than any other plastic. Polystyrene is also used in other industries and consumer goods segments including: