Polypropylene (PP, #5)

Polypropylene has excellent chemical resistance, is strong, and has the lowest density of the plastics used in packaging. It has a high melting point, making it ideal for hot-fill liquids. In film form it may or may not be oriented, i.e. stretched (Plastics Technology Center). In summary, PP has the following properties:

  • Fairly low physical properties
  • Fairly low heat resistance
  • Excellent chemical resistance
  • Easy processing

Typical End Uses

PP is found in everything from flexible and rigid packaging to fibers and large molded parts for automotive and consumer products. (Adapted from Modern Plastics Encyclopedia, 1995; Plastic Packaging Opportunities and Challenges, American Plastics Council, 1992.)


In 1996, 12 billion pounds of virgin PP resin were produced in the U.S. In March 1996, Franklin & Associates estimated for EPA the amount of PP in products discarded in the municipal waste stream at 2.42 million for 1994. Franklin also estimated that 110,000 tons of PP were recycled in the U.S. in 1994.

General estimates of California PP blow-molded container generation, taken from the Society of Plastics Industries (SPI) and factored to California (using a factor of 10 percent of U.S. total), indicate that about 7,900 tons of PP rigid containers were generated in California in 1996. PP recovery estimates specific to California are not available.


Estimates are not available for the amount of PP postconsumer resin (PCR) used as manufacturing feedstock in California. In general, recycled PP could be used in the manufacture the following commodities:

  • Fiber, filament, film, pipe
  • Carpeting, packaging
  • Automotive battery cases
  • Automotive trim pieces
  • Hinged packaging for commodity products, i.e. soap holder
  • Toys, bottle caps
  • General commodity items


For more information contact: Business Assistance, bzassist@calrecycle.ca.gov.