You’ll see the acronym ‘HIPS’ across plastics websites, but what is it?
‘HIPS’ stands for ‘High Impact Polystyrene Sheet’. HIPS is one of the most versatile and economical plastics available and in this blog we will explain when it was developed, how it is made and where you can find it.
Polystyrene was first discovered by German apothecary Johann Eduard Simon in 1839 in Berlin, Germany. After distilling an oily substance from the resin of the Sweetgum tree, known as storax. He discovered several days later that the ‘styrol’ he had created had thickened into a jelly which he dubbed styrol oxide – wrongly presuming an oxidation process. Polystyrene was first industrialised in 1931 by the I. G. Farben company, nearly a century after its discovery. Pure polystyrene is rather brittle and unsuitable for many applications so it is combined with polybutadiene or rubber to create what is known as a copolymer. This strengthens the plastic significantly and turns pure polystyrene into HIPS and results in a very stiff material which is useful for packaging applications.
HIPS became a standard, cheap replacement for products typically made from moulded zinc. Today it can be found in cars, electronics, laptop casings, soft drinks cups, plastic cutlery and food packaging, along with a whole host of other applications. For an idea of what HIPS looks and feels like, most yoghurt pots are made from it due to its hard and food-safe nature. Along with its hardness, HIPS is useful because of its inherent moisture barrier properties, making it suitable for short shelf life products such as cookies or pastries.
HIPS is not only desirable for its end-product properties, but also for its workability. HIPS can be easily thermoformed and is 100% recyclable. Whilst HIPS and other forms of polystyrene can be recycled they are not accepted at all recycling centres, so it is always worth checking if your local municipality accepts these plastics. Here at Euro Extrusions, however, we are always happy to take customers waste HIPS and recycle it.
Euro Extrusion Ltd is a leading plastic extruder and supplier of thermoplastic film and sheet. The experienced team at Euro Extrusions has a large knowledge base, ensuring the delivery of high quality services and products. This quality is backed up by its ISO 9001:2015 certification.
The Lancashire facility has the capability to create sheet and roll Polystyrene, High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) and a range of other plastic sheet and film. Euro Extrusions Ltd produces both virgin and recycled plastic sheet and film in an effort to reduce its environmental impact and offers customers the ability to recycle their own waste plastic.
To find out more about Euro Extrusion’s products and services, speak to the team on 01254 886 662 or contact them by clicking here.