Plastic is a generic term for a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic materials.
The term ‘plastic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘plastikos’ meaning ‘fit for moulding’ and ‘plastos’ meaning ‘moulded’. It refers to the material’s malleability or plasticity during manufacturing, which allows it to be cast, pressed, or extruded into a variety of shapes.
There are two broad categories of plastic materials: thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics. Thermoplastics can be heated up to form products. If these end products are reheated, the plastic will soften and melt again. In contrast, thermoset plastics can be melted and formed, but once they have solidified, they stay solid and, unlike thermoplastics, cannot be remelted (Source: Plastics Europe).« Back to Glossary Index