Ever wonder where your custom plastic signs come from? Of course, aside from the fact that your signs came from a manufacturer that took your order and crafted your sign for you, these signs first begin their journey from what is called a polymer. A polymer is essentially a large molecule that is composed of numerous smaller units in a chain.

Polymers can be naturally occurring or, in the case of plastics, man-made. All plastics are polymers and they all belong to one of two main plastic groups. The first group of plastics is the one called thermoplastic, which can be recycled and reused. The plastics that belong to this group can be heated and reformed after it has been used in another previous form.

The second group of plastics is called thermoset plastics. This kind of plastic can only be used once. When this kind of plastic is set, that is the shape it will take for its entire existence.

Most of the items produced with the use of thermoset plastics are permanent items like car parts, insulating foams, plastic table wear and printed circuit boards, to name a few things. These are made with thermoset plastics like polyurethanes, melamine and polymides. These are items that retain their shape after they are molded and when heated, these burn but cannot be shaped into something else.

When you ask if your custom plastic sign is either made with thermoplastic or thermoset plastic, you are likely to be told that it is made with thermoplastic. An example of a thermoplastic material is acrylic, which is used for a huge number of signage needs. It can be melted and remolded into another sheet of plastic should this be sent for recycling.

All of your plastic signs are made with thermoplastics and the types of plastics that belong to this group include high density and low density polyethylene, polycarbonate and polypropylene. PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is a popular material that is also used for crafting signs, is also part of this group of plastics. These are in the same family of plastics as celluloid and polystyrene, which are relatively softer members of this group.