Household Uses for Thermoplastics

Thermoplastics are plastics that becomes soft when heated and also will melt when heated. Reheating a thermoplastic does not cause damage or change its composition. The plastic can be remoulded again and again. Thermoplastics offer versatility and easy processing while also facilitating recycling, according to the Container and Packaging website. As a result, thermoplastics are utilised in a variety of applications, including many household uses.


Polypropylene is a lightweight, economic thermoplastic with high abrasion and impact resistance. Corrosion resistance is also high. Polyproylene is stain resistant and is used to make countertops, carpet fibres and microwave containers, and has been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Polyvinyl Chloride

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a medium impact thermoplastic with high corrosion resistance. PVC is ideally suited where chemical resistance is needed, such as for pipes and fittings, and provides maintenance-free performance over the years. PVC is resistant to nearly all halogens, acids and other corrosive materials. Other household uses include wall and floor coverings, cabinets, curtains, tablecloths, electrical insulation, gutters and drainpipes, and even credit cards.


Polythene is also known as HDPE, for high density polythene. By consumption, HPDE is the most heavily used thermoplastic. HDPE is used in the household for milk bottles and other noncarbonated drinks such as water. The thermoplastic is lightweight, high-impact, stress-crack and abrasion-resistant, and is also resistant to chemicals. Because of its resistance to chemicals, HDPE is used as packaging material for household chemicals, such as bleach and washing powder. Telecommunication cables are also made with HDPE, as well as toys.


Nylon is the trade name for a thermoplastic that is also the first synthetic fibre chemically made. It is a solid polymer that is melted and forced through fine jets to make filaments, which are turned into yarn. Nylon is then woven into fabric and is used to make rugs, blankets and curtains. Nylon is also used as a hard plastic to make combs and brushes.


Acrylic is also known by the brand names of Plexiglas and Lucite. It weighs less than half the weight of glass. Acrylic is high-impact and translucent and is used for furniture and transparent tanks such as fish tanks. As a fibre, acrylic is used for home furnishings such as rugs, upholstery and blankets.

Other Thermoplastics

Other types of thermoplastics are also used in the household. Polystyrene is used for making toys and cellulose acetate is used for making screwdriver handles.

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About the Author

Carolyn Green has been a freelance writer since 1989. She has written for BETweekend, Good Old Days, Baby's World and more. A teacher from New York, she also taught in Seoul, where she wrote for a Korean publication. Her passions include world travel, nutritional research and alternative medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from State University of New York, Old Westbury.