Epoxy Resin

To understand plastic you need a lot of time and a good working knowledge of chemistry at the very least. Currently I am trying to find out what epoxy resin actually is. Sigh! Here’s what I got….

It is a thermoset plastic which means it can only be heated and shaped once.

Most epoxy resins are petroleum derived but some plant derived sources are now becoming commercially available such as plant derived glycerol.

Properties Good electrical insulator, hard, brittle unless reinforced, resists chemicals well

Principal uses Casting and encapsulation, adhesives, bonding of other materials. And lining tin cans.

Epoxy resin can be mixed with additives, plasticizers or fillers to create different products with a range of properties Use of blending, additives and fillers is often referred to as formulating.”

Bisphenol A (BPA)

And of course the one everyone is concerned about ….. BPA is an integral part of most epoxy resins.

“The most common and important class of epoxy resins is formed from reacting epichlorhydrin with bisphenol A to form diglycidyl ethers of bisphenol A.”

Many consider BPA to be a health hazard.

Nearly all tin cans are lined with epoxy resin. and have been since the 50s. The liner can be white or yellow or transparent in which case it is undetectable. BPA can leach from the liner into the contents of the can. For more on this read Why Does My Can Have A Liner & Is It Bad For Me.

Other Resins

  • Bisphenol F epoxy resin
  • Novolac epoxy resin
  • Aliphatic epoxy resin
  • Glycidylamine epoxy resin


Polypropylene (PP) plastic code 5

It is the second most important plastic after polyethylene.

It is a thermoplastic polymer that is rugged and unusually resistant to many chemical solvents, bases and acids.

It is used to make soup pots, margarine tubs, most bottle tops, waterproof clothing, carrier bags, ropes, non woven fibre products like the fluffy cottonwool type stuff used in tampons and nappies.

Does not biodegrade.

UK Collection Rates for recycling.Not generally collected for household recycling, although it has good potential.However, mixed plastic recycling is expected to be under way within five years. (please note this information is always changing. Updates will be posted here first so you may wish to double check.)

It is expected to net US$145 billion by 2019 and the sales of this material are forecast to grow at a rate of 5.8% per year until 2021.

In 2013, the global market for polypropylene was about 55 million metric tons. Wikkipedia.

Polypropylene is made from propylene. This in turn is made from propane.

Propane is derived from hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbon chains are refined by cracking and polymerising.

Very basically cracking breaks the existing chains and polymerisation is remixing them into something new.

Using high-temperature furnaces, propane is cracked into propylene,

Using a catalyst, a reactor and some heat propylene joins together to create a polymer called polypropylene.

Propane can be derived from Naptha ( which is distilled from crude oil)

90% of propylene is made from oil though that figure is rapidly changing as more is made from shale gas as a result of fracking.

“North America plans to build 6 new plants to to make “on purpose” propylene from propane “In the past the price of propylene and propane were so close in the U.S. that it wasn’t cost effective to dehydrogenate propane, but now with low cost propane from shale gas, it is. “

Polypropylene was discovered in  1951 by two chemists working for Phillips Petroleum Company.

In 2008, researchers in Canada asserted that quaternary ammonium biocides and oleamide were leaking out of certain polypropylene labware, affecting experimental results.



Whats your food wrapped in…..

Long ago I bought myself some lentils from a major retailer of whole foods. They came in a clear, crinkly, sharp kind of plastic bag with colorful, crisp images.  The bag had no plastic code so I  set about researching the packaging. I phoned and asked the producer/ retailer but they couldn’t help me. So I had the packaging analyzed. I can now tell them that it was in fact a film consisting of a series of bonded layers including a 70 micron thick polypropylene and ethylene layer, laminated and printed. Or to put it more simply several layers of plastic each with different properties stuck together.

This method of making plastic films leads to a very versatile product that looks good and has a wide range of uses.

On the down side these films are difficult to recycle. Because they consist of different plastics bonded together it is difficult to know what they are and how to treat them and separating the films is tricky and so very expensive. Films therefore often don’t get recycled but burnt or landfilled.

Just to remind you

Another barrier to [plastic] recycling is the widespread use of dyesfillers, and other additives in plastics. The polymer is generally too viscous to economically remove fillers, and would be damaged by many of the processes that could cheaply remove the added dyes. Additives are less widely used in beverage containers and plastic bags, allowing them to be recycled more often. . Yet another barrier to removing large quantities of plastic from the waste stream and landfills is the fact that many common but small plastic items lack the universal triangle recycling symbol and accompanying number. From  Wikipedia on plastic recycling

So if you need to buy something in plastic, try avoid the film and go for easily recycled polythene. You can find some suppliers here….

Plastics used to package food include the following. Copied from practical action 


Film Type


Barriers to Moisture




Normal Thickness Micrometers






21 – 40







19 – 42






21 – 42


Nitro- cellulose




21 – 24

Polythene (low density)





25 – 200

Polythene (high density)





350 – 1000






20 – 40







18 – 34






20 – 30






12 -23










20 -30

Table 1: Properties of selected packaging materials
* = low ** = medium *** = high. Thicker films of each type have better barrier properties than thinner films. PVDC = polyvinylidene chloride.

Laminated films

Lamination of two or more films improves the appearance, barrier properties or mechanical strength of a package.

Coextruded films

This is the simultaneous extrusion of two or more layers of different polymers. Coextruded films have three main advantages over other types of film:

  • They have very high barrier properties, similar to laminates but produced at a lower cost.
  • They are thinner than laminates and are therefore easier to use on filling equipment.
  • The layers do not separate.
    Examples of the use of laminated and coextruded films are as follows:

Type of laminate

Typical food application

Polyvinylidene chloride coated polypropylene (2 layers)

Crisps, snackfoods, confectionery, ice cream, biscuits, chocolate

Polyvinylidene chloride coated polypropylene- polyethylene

Bakery products, cheese, confectionery, dried fruit, frozen vegetables


Pies, crusty bread, bacon, coffee, cooked meats, cheese

Cellulose-acetate-paper-foil- polyethylene

Dried soups

Metallised polyester-polyethylene

Coffee, dried milk


Dried soup, dried vegetables, chocolate

Type of coextrusion


High impact polystyrene- polyethylene terephthalate

Margarine, butter tubs

Polystyrene-polystyrene- polyvinylidene chloride-polystyrene

Juices, milk bottles

Polystyrene-polystyrene- polyvinylidene chloride-polyethylene

Butter, cheese, margarine, coffee, mayonnaise, sauce tubs and bottles


Degradable, biodegradable or compostable

So most plastics are made from oil and most plastics do not biodegrade. See how and why here…

And yet you will find plastics described as

  • degradable
  • biodegradable
  • compostable

What do these terms actually mean when applied to plastic?

Remember that

  • Most traditional, oil-based plastics do not biodegrade.
  • Biodegradable products break down as the result of the actions of naturally occurring microorganisms, such as fungi or bacteria, over a time.
  • Plastic breaks, tears and cracks. It weathers and sunlight makes it brittle, It falls apart – it degrades – but only into smaller pieces of plastic.
  • Find out more about the lifecycle of plastic here.

Degradable Plastic

All plastic degrade – i.e. they fall apart into smaller pieces of plastic. BUT when a plastic is described as degradable it could just describe the falling part process  OR it could mean t a degradation initiator has been added to make it fall apart faster.

Degradation Initiators and Bio-Degradable Plastics

But suppose there was a way of making plastic biodegradable? The industry argue that they can do just that by means of chemical additives known as degradation initiators. Very basically, these additives break the long unnatural plastic polymers into shorter recognisable polymers that microbes can attack and digest – or biodegrade (N.B. lots more research need to be done on this. It is by no means proven).

Because the degradation initiators are biologically  based they are sometimes described as biodegradable. So some traditional plastic bags have been labelled biodegradable.

This is  at best confusing if not deliberately misleading. This  is not the same process as natural biodegrading. Unlike truly biodegradable products they don’t always break down into harmless substances and may leave behind a toxic residue.

More so as  there are some compostable plastics which are also described (correctly) as  biodegradable which do actually compost down into biomass.

Read more about degradation initiators here.

Compostable Biodegradable Plastics

Truly biodegradable plastics are compostable.

Biodegradable products break down through a naturally occurring microorganism into simple, stable compounds which can be absorbed into the ecosystem. To be classed compostable, items must biodegrade within a certain time (around the rate at which paper biodegrades) For a man-made product to be sold as compostable, it has to meet certain standards. One such is the European Norm EN13432.

Compostable Plastics  meet all of these criteria. You can find out more here.


Yes they have a vested interest making as they do compostable plastic goods but the info still stands.

Vegware factsheet





Compostable Plastics

Plastic was the name given to early synthetic products (such as cellophane),  that were derived from cellulose. These early plastics  were biodegradable. Later the same name was given the oil derived product. This was  made in a very different way and did not biodegrade. It is now applied to corn starch plastic which is made differently again, from plant starch and is certified compostable. Want to know more about plastic? Read up here

To conclude;
plastics can be made in a variety of ways from a variety of materials; shale gas, oil, plants even chicken feathers;
different plastics have very different qualities. 

Currently, non- biodegradable, oil derived plastics are the most commonly used and so we tend to ascribe their qualities to all types of plastic.
Which is of course incorrect not least because  most oil derived plastics do not biodegrade and last for centuries possibly for ever, while there are other plastics that are truly compostable with a lifespan of months.

Read more about plastic types here…

Biodegradable, Compostable Plastics

What is biodegradable? Biodegradable products break down through a naturally occurring microorganism into simple, stable compounds which can be absorbed into the ecosystem. More about biodegrading here

What is compostable? To be classed compostable, items must biodegrade within a certain time (around the rate at which paper biodegrades), and the resulting biomass must be free of toxins, able to sustain plant life and be used as an organic fertilizer or soil additive. For a man-made product to be sold as compostable, it has to meet certain standards. One such is the European Norm EN13432. You can find out more here.

Compostable Plastics

  • Cellulose derived plastics such as Cellophane. These plant derived plastics are amongst the first examples of the product and do biodegrade. ­
  • Starch based plastics which are compostable such as PLA plastics. They are certified compostable and do biodegrade.
  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates or PHAs  are linear polyesters produced in nature by bacterial fermentation of ­sugar or lipids. They are produced by the bacteria to store carbon and energy. They do biodegrade
  • chicken feathers bioplastic – biodegrades.

Composting PLA Plastic At Home
While most agree that PLA plastic is indeed compostable, many say that it can only composted in large scale municipal schemes. As we don’t have many large scale municipal schemes this they say is a pointless advantage.I say the days of large scale municipal schemes is fast approaching as governments aim to divert biodegradable rubbish from landfill sites.
AND I have been composting my PLA plastic for years. We have used and composted a number PLA plastic products (including Biobags , Deli pots  and disposable Cutlery)
It does take longer than other products and  sometimes I have found shreds of it in my compost but I dig it into the soil where it quickly disappears.

Most compostable plastics are bioplastics. Bioplastics are made from natural materials such as corn starch. However not all are compostable. For exampleEthane based plastics as used Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle which replaces 30 percent of the ethanol in their normal polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottle with 30 percent plant-derived ethanol. This means the bottle is still considered PET and can be recycled but is NOT biodegradable. Find out more here.

Other Plastics
There is research being done into developing a compostable, oil-derived plastic. Watch this space BUT don’t fall for the old *biodegradable plastic bag trick see below.

*Compostable versus biodegradable plastics
You might see some plastics labelled described as biodegradable. You could be forgiven for thinking that this is the same as compostable plastic. It is not. Some “biodegradable plastics” are oil derived plastics with a degrading initiator added to make them fall apart (degrade) more  quickly. Unlike compostable plastics they don’t always break down into harmless substances and may leave behind a toxic residue. Read more here


Want to know more about plastic? Read up here
See our big list of plastic types here



Polyurethane is made by reacting polyols and diisocyanates,

Polyols and diisocyanates are derived from crude oil and removed during the refining process just like gasoline.

Polyurethane foam can be flexible or rigid. Each form of polyurethane has many uses.

Most polyurethanes do not melt when heated but there are some (thermoplastic polyurethanes) that do.

Polyurethane formulations cover an extremely wide range of stiffness, hardness, and densities. These materials include:

Low-density flexible foam used in upholstery, bedding, and automotive and truck seating
Low-density rigid foam used for thermal insulation and RTM cores
Soft solid elastomers used for gel pads and print rollers
Low density elastomers used in footwear
Hard solid plastics used as electronic instrument bezels and structural parts
Flexible plastics used as straps and bands
lining the cups of brassieres.



Ethane derived plastics

Ethane is a chemical compound in the form of a colorless, odorless gas .

Its chief use is as feedstock for ethylene production.
Ethane is treated (cracked) to make ethylene.

Ethylene is used to make.

Polyethylene (Polythene)

Ethylene is one of the raw materials used to make polyethylene (abbreviated PE) (IUPAC name polyethene or poly(methylene))This is the most common plastic.The annual global production of polythene is approximately 80 million tonnes.

    • High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
    • Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX or XLPE)
    • Medium-density polyethylene (MDPE)
    • Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE)
    • Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
    • Very-low-density polyethylene (VLDPE)

PVC polyvinyl chloride

Ethylene and chlorine are raw materials for PVC. Ethylene is chlorinated then cracked to make the  vinyl chloride monomer (VCM). Nearly all VCM is used to make polyvinyl chloride

polystyrene (PS)

Ethylene is  reacted with benzene to make ethylbenzene which is further processed into styrene. The main outlets for styrene are polymers and synthetic rubbers such as polystyrene,acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and styrene butadiene rubber (SBR).

Other Plastics

Ethylene can be oxidised to create ethylene oxide This mostly  used to make ethylene glycol, from which polyester fibres for textile applications, PET resins for bottles and polyester film are made.

Recycling & Biodegradability

These plastics do not biodegrade.

They can be recycled.

Other Uses

ethylene oxide is a poison gas. It is highly flammable and explosive.

It can be used to make weapons

The gas leaves no residue on items it contacts, so can be used  instead of  steam in the sterilization of heat-sensitive tools and equipment, such as disposable plastic syringes.

Other ethylene derivitives are  found in in shampoo, kitchen cleaners, personal care products, etc

A few statistics

Global ethylene production was 107 million tonnes in 2005,[4] 109 million tonnes in 2006.[14] NNFCC Renewable Chemicals Factsheet: Ethanol, 138 million tonnes in 2010 and 141 million tonnes in 2011.[15] By 2010 ethylene was produced by at least 117 companies in 55 countries.[16] To meet the ever increasing demand for ethylene, sharp increases in production facilities are added globally, particularly in the Mideast and in China.[16]

In Abu Dhabi, the Borouge III ethane cracker which will produce 1.5m tonne/year of ethylene is expected to start up 2014.

In Mexico Braskem and Grupo Idesa’s $2.5bn 1m tonne/year ethylene XXI project  is expected to start up in 2015.

Useful Links

Polyethylene (Polythene)

PVC polyvinyl chloride

polystyrene (PS)

PET resins

Wikkipedia  and again market data

Other Plastic Info

Find out about other types of plastic here

Don’t know your crack from you cracking – try this introduction to plastic




Polyethylene / Polythene

  • is the most common plastic.
  • the annual global production of polythene is approximately 80 million tonnes.
  • it is an ethane derived plastic.

Ethane isone of the byproducts of oil refining.
It can be isolated from natural gas,
It can be derived from plants.but most is made from petroleum or natural gas.

Ethene is one of the raw materials used to make polyethylene (abbreviated PE) (IUPAC name polyethene or poly(methylene)

Types of polythene

  • High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX or XLPE)
  • Medium-density polyethylene (MDPE)
  • Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE)
  • Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
  • Very-low-density polyethylene (VLDPE)

High-density polyethylene  HDPE Plastic code 2

Used to make supermarket type carrier bags, chemical drums, jerricans, carboys, toys, picnic ware, household and kitchenware, cable insulation, plastic milk cartons, juice bottles, shampoo bottles, and liquid detergent containers.

It is tough and can withstand exposure to sunlight and extremes of temperature.

Products made of HDPE are reusable.


HDPE is the most commonly recycled plastic and is a relatively simple and cost-effective process to recycle HDPE plastic for secondary use.

Polythene bags can be recycled through the supermarket carrier bag recycling schemes. Sainsburys even print this fact on their packaging – I saw it on their grapes the other day.

If you don’t live near a supermarket (!) with a recycling scheme, then you can send the bags to this company who run a recycling scheme.

New technology allows HDPE to be recycled into new milk bottles.

LDPE (Low density polyethylene) plastic code 4

used to make soft clear bags for packing of vegetables some bread and frozen food bags, trash cans, and garbage can liners. Also used to make toys and clothes, dispensing bottles, wash bottles, tubing, molded laboratory equipment and corrosion-resistant work surfaces.

Parts that need to be weldable and machinable, parts that require flexibility, computer components, such as hard drives, screen cards and disk-drives are all made from LDPE.

It is considered less toxic than other plastics.

It is not commonly recycled yet but recycling possibilities are ever increasing.

Does Not Biodegrade…… or maybe it does

Polyethylene (PE) has been considered nonbiodegradable for decades. Although the biodegradation of PE by bacterial cultures has been occasionally described, valid evidence of PE biodegradation has remained limited in the literature. We found that waxworms, or Indian mealmoths (the larvae of Plodia interpunctella), were capable of chewing and eating PE films.

Cellophane plant derived and biodegradable plastic

 A guest post from Michael Bloch blogging up on Green Living

Green Living Tips is an online resource powered by renewable energy offering a wide variety of earth friendly tips, green guides, advice and environment related news to help consumers and business reduce costs, consumption and environmental impact .
We see many news stories about developments in the plastics industry to make these items greener. With disposable plastic shopping bags being banned in some places and consumer concern acting as the writing on the wall for the industry, it’s certainly in the sector’s interest to make more environmentally friendly plastic bag and wrap products as soon as possible.

Degradable, compostable and biodegradable plastics may seem like recent inventions, but some have been around for a very long time. One such plastic is cellophane – and it’s now experiencing resurgence in popularity.

Cellophane being plant based didn’t click with me until I was doing some research recently for a restaurant employee who was looking for a biodegradable bag suitable for use with a particular food application – it was only then that it clicked with me the “cello” in cellophane stands for cellulose – the structural component of plants.

Cellophane was invented in 1900, but wasn’t commercially available until 1912. At that point it was mainly used for wrapping candy. When moisture-proof cellophane hit the market in the late 1920′s, it rapidly increased in popularity until the 60′s when alternative petro-chemical based plastics became popular – and we all know how that worked out for the planet.

Quite a few modern bioplastics use plants, but often they use corn as the primary component. Similar to using “food as fuel“; should we be using a grain or a crop grown on land suitable for producing food for non-food uses when arable land (without further deforestation) is becoming a diminishing resource?

Cellophane has an edge here as it can be made from farmed trees or from hemp; which can grow in relatively harsh conditions.

Regarding its composting and biodegradable attributes, I’ve read various reports stating uncoated cellulose film degrades within 10 days to 1 month when buried and nitrocellulose-coated cellulose in 2 months to 3 months. Complete biodegradation of cellulose film is between 1 – 2 months for uncoated products, and from 2.5 to 4 months for coated cellulose products. In a fresh water environment, the rate of biodegradation is only 10 days for uncoated film and a month for coated cellulose film.

As far as I know, corn based bioplastics take far longer to degrade and there’s also some issues with recycling bioplastics made with corn as they are currently classified as a number 7 plastic resin, meaning “other”.

That’s the good news about cellophane; but as with most things, there are some negative aspects too environmentally speaking.

Cellophane is made by dissolving plant fiber in alkali and carbon disulfide to create something called viscose. The viscose is then reconverted to cellulose in cellophane form after a sulfuric acid and sodium sulfate bath. The cellophane is  further treated with glycerol to make the dry cellophane less brittle. The cellophane may then be coated with nitrocellulose or wax to make it impermeable to water vapor. A few nasty chemicals in that process – for example, high levels of carbon disulfide are toxic; affecting the nervous system.

However, given the amount of processing and nasties it takes to turn petro-chemicals; i.e. chemicals derived from crude oil, into plastics and the damage those plastics do long after having been discarded, it would seem to me that cellophane is probably still better environmentally speaking. Stacked up against corn based plastic bags and wraps, the better/worse distinction is a little harder to discern.

Cellophane films and bags are readily available – just run a query on the terms in your favorite search engine to locate a stockist.

Tip: When composting cellophane, scrunch it up instead of laying it flat on your compost pile. This allows for air pockets and some air is necessary when composting any material.

Trivia: another plastic product that’s been around for at least a hundred years also based on plant material is linoleum.

Find out more about compostable and other types of plastic here


Polyethylene terephthalat frequently shortened to PET or PETE and was formerly called PETP or PET-P.

It is an ethane derived plastic.

PET or PETE  (plastic code 1) is most often used for making fibers, things made by injection molding, and containers for food, drinks, pharmaceuticals, make-up etc.

PET fibers are used with other fibers to strengthen them, to make a fiber filling, for fabrics, and carpets,  automobile tire yarns, conveyor belts and seat belts, for non woven fabrics for stabilizing drainage ditches, culverts, and railroad beds, disposable fabrics for use in medical applications, sanitary protection, menstrual products and nappies.

Its other major use is for bottles and  jars for food processed at low temperatures.

It can be used to make a clear containers allowing the contents to be easily seen and identified.

It is intended for single use food packaging applications as repeated use is said to increase the risk of chemicals leaching from the plastic into the contents. There are claims that some of these chemicals may be carcinogenic and or endocrine disruptors.

PET is only 10% of the weight of an identical glass container, it allows for less expensive shipping and handling, saving a significant amount of money for companies around the world.” Copied from Wise Geek

PET starts softening at around 70 °C (160 °F).

It is claimed that bacteria can  colonise the rough surface of a PET.

PET plastic is an easily recyclable plastic  and about 25% of PET bottles in the US today are recycled.

It is made from carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, just like paper. It is claimed that, just like paper, it can be safely burnt and will only produce carbon dioxide and water leaving no toxic residue.

However the Material Safety Data Sheet for PET states

Can burn in a fire creating dense toxic smoke. Molten plastic can cause severe thermal burns. Fumes produced during melt processing may cause eye, skin and respiratory tract irritation.

Secondary operations, such as grinding, sanding or sawing, can produce dust which may present a respiratory hazard. Product in pellet form is unlikely to cause irritation.
You can find MSDA sheets here
You can find information on the other types of plastic here.



3D Plastic

There is a new machine on the market that can create 3d components out of plastic without the need for moulds. Using plastic thread and computer design drawings (or even a photo) it builds the product up by layer. It is the same principal as the coil pots you made at school.

“On top of a heated plate, a “pen” squeezes out lines of plastic thinner than a human hair as a fan cools it instantly – turning 3D objects on a PC screen into real, solid plastic models.

Instead of simply putting ink to paper, 3D printers allow anyone to create an object they’ve designed, using plastics or metal. The machine then takes the design and builds up the item one microscopic layer at a time, with it slowly appearing before your eyes.” Yahoo.

This means that anyone with access to one of these machines, a computer aided design program and some base plastic, can make whatever they want. And the machines cost less than £700.00 and can be bought at Maplins, a high street electronics store.

The thought is quite horrific. We are already drowning in a mass of plastic crap we don’t need and can’t dispose of properly but at least amounts were limited, and I say that with a hollow laugh, by manufacturing constraints. Now anyone can build anything.

I was worried about the implications for a massive increase in plastic rubbish, concerned that the long-term implications of plastic detritus were being ignored and remain unacknowledged. I should have thought harder.

In May 2013, the US Government demanded that non-profit  Defence Distributed  (DD) took their design for a plastic pistol off line. Yes the designs for the fully-functional 3D-printed handgun, the Liberator, were available on line. By the time the organisation complied, “the files had “already been downloaded more than 100,000 time and, according to the founder Cody Wilson, are now safe in the hands of Internet communities.”

Frickin A! An unlicensed gun that cannot be detected by airport scanners. For sure it might self destruct after a few rounds – into hundreds of pieces of non biodegradable, polluting plastic.


PTFE Non stick plastic

When I was young and innocent, I knew nothing of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Well, it’s not the kind of thing a nicely brought up girl should have to deal with.

Instead, I went out met a man, got married and got given some very nice, very expensive wedding pans. Lovely non-stick pans.

Which brings us right back to polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) .

  • This is what the non-stick coating on pans is made from.
  • Teflon is perhaps the best known manufacturer of polytetrafluoroethylene (non-stick) linings.
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene is a plastic and, like other plastics, has a down right nasty side.

Over to wise geek…..
The nonstick coating used in DuPont’s Teflon® pans has been found to release one or more of 15 different toxic gases when heated to certain temperatures, but is generally safe when used according to manufacturers’ specifications. Which chemicals are released depends on the temperature of the pan. This outgassing can be fatal to pet birds and can cause “polymer fume flu,” also known as “Teflon® flu,” in humans.

read the rest here

Teflon say if you use the pans properly(?), there shouldn’t be a problem. Try telling that to the budgie.

Whatever, the pans are too good to throw out, and I feel bad about giving them away, so I am still using them – but in future I will not be buying any more non-stick.

New Non Stick Pans


No PTFE non stick frying pan

More info

You can find out about the other sorts of plastic here