Many everyday items are made from plastic, including hard drinking glasses and dishes, which are typically made from a type of plastic called polystyrene. Garden hoses, water pipes and plastic tubing are typically made from a type of plastic called PVC, and circuit boards are made from laminated epoxy plastics.
There are many different kinds of plastic, and most plastic items bear stamps to indicate the type of plastic from which they are made. Polyethylene is a common type of plastic used to make many household items, such as flexible plastic glasses, bottles, peanut butter jars and flexible toys. Items made from polyethylene are often labeled "PETE." Similarly, plastic items made from high-density polyethylene, such as milk cartons and laundry detergent bottles, are labeled "HDPE." Polystyrene items, such as CD covers, plastic tableware and Styrofoam, are often stamped "PS," and polypropylene items, such as fruit packages, bottle caps and drinking straws, may be labeled "PP."
Plastics are made mostly from petroleum products, including liquid petroleum gases and natural gas. In 2010 alone, 191 million barrels of petroleum products were used to make plastic products in the United States. This was equivalent to about 2.7 percent of all national petroleum consumption.