ABS (Acrylonitrile/Butadiene/Styrene)

ABS is by far the most common terpolymer. It has higher impact resistance, softness, lower modulus, somewhat lower heat resistance, and some loss of light transmission (Plastics Technology Center). In summary, ABS has the following physical properties:

  • Very good impact resistance
  • Good strength and stiffness
  • Fair heat resistance
  • Fair chemical resistance
  • Transparent to opaqueness
  • Moderate price
  • Ease of processing


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

  • Business equipment housings
  • Telephone housings
  • Automotive interiors
  • Luggage
  • Ribbon cartridges and cassettes


  • Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI) is a trade association of over 2,000 members representing all segments of the plastics industry in the United States.
  • Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) is a network of plastics professionals around the world promoting the knowledge and education of plastics and polymers.
  • Vehicle Recycling Partnership (VRP) was formed by the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) to identify and peruse research and development efforts to promote the recycling of motor vehicles. Chrysler, Ford and General Motors formed USCAR to work together on shared technological and environmental concerns.
  • Advanced Recovery is a company involved in recycling scrap materials, specifically dangerous CRTs and electronic equipment.
  • American Plastics Council (APC) is the major national trade association representing the U.S. plastics industry on resource conservation issues.
  • Mat Web is an online materials information resource.

For more information, contact bzassist@calrecycle.ca.gov.