Plastics have come a long way since the first fully synthetic plastic was invented in the early 1900s. Over the last century and a half, scientists and inventors have learned how to create thousands of different plastics—aka polymers—to suit various applications. Plastics can be crafted to be transparent, stretchy, oxygen-blocking, or even bulletproof!


As a company that specializes in plastic components, retail displays, and other plastic fabrication projects, having a variety of plastics to choose from helps us deliver the quality custom products our clients need for their businesses. Below we discuss four common types of plastic and their uses.



Also known as polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), acrylic is a lightweight, transparent, durable, and scratch-resistant plastic that was invented over a century ago. It can be made to be colored, fluorescent, UV-resistant, non-glare, or anti-static, among many other modifications. Acrylic’s characteristics make the material a great alternative to glass for applications such as submarine windows, skylights, or aquariums.


Other common uses for acrylic:


●        Retail displays and fixtures

●        Security display cases

●        Acrylic signs

●        Food display cases




Polyethylene terephthalate—also known as PETG, PET, or PETE—is an incredibly lightweight, impact and chemical-resistant plastic that can be rigid or semi-rigid, depending on the application. Because it is FDA compliant, it can be used in medical and food applications. As one of the most widely produced plastics in the world, PETG is the material of choice for bottling and packaging. Its widespread use makes it highly recyclable.


Other common uses for PETG:


●        Food display cases

●        Signs

●        Point of purchase displays

●        Plastic glove dispensers




High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) is a tough, economical plastic that’s versatile and impact-resistant. HIPS is easy to thermoform and fabricate, while also being cost-effective and available in a wide variety of colors, making it a go-to material for toys and packaging.


Other common uses for HIPS:


●        Signs

●        Point of purchase displays

●        Plastic components for appliances

●        Plastic parts for audio-visual equipment





You likely know polystyrene by another name: styrofoam. Polystyrene comes in both solid and foamed forms, and is used to make a broad variety of consumer products, including food packaging and appliances. As a foam, polystyrene can be more than 95 percent air!


Other common uses for polystyrene:


●        Plastic parts for automobiles

●        Gardening pots

●        Toys

●        Surfboards


As technology continues to advance at an incredible rate, and consumers demand more sustainable and efficient materials, it’s inevitable that new plastics and plastic alternatives will emerge. It will be exciting to see how plastics will evolve in the future.


Contact Us for Custom Plastic Fabrication

Cottage Corporation is a full-service manufacturer of custom plastic parts and displays. We specialize in acrylic and plastic fabrication services for retail, medical, consumer, commercial, industrial, and distribution companies throughout the U.S. From concept to assembly, we handle every aspect of your project to ensure a cost-effective, high-quality solution. Contact us today to get started on your custom plastic project!