Density of selected plastic materials that float or sink in relation to seawater density (in grams per cubic centimeter)

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Plastic item (resin type) [floats/sinks in seawater] Density in grams per cubic centimeter
Bottle caps (polypropylene) [floats]0.92
Plastic bags (polyethylene) [floats]0.95
Fishing floats (polystyrene) [floats]1.01
Containers (polystyrene) [sinks]1.09
Fishing nets (polyamide or nylon) [sinks]1.15
Cigarette filters (cellulose acetate) [sinks]1.24
Plastic film (polyvinyl chloride) [sinks]1.3
Textiles (polyesther resin) [sinks]1.35
Soft drink bottles (polyethylene terephtalate) [sinks]1.39

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This statistic outlines the density of selected plastic materials and states which plastics float and which sink in relation to seawater density. Plastic bottle caps made with polypropylene have a density of 0.92 grams per cubic centimeter, which is lighter than seawater's average density of 1.027 grams per cubic centimeter, and therefore, float in seawater. Fishing nets made of polyamide or nylon do not float in seawater because they have a density of 1.15 grams per cubic centimeter.
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Release date
August 2016
Survey time period
Supplementary notes
Seawater has an average density of 1.027 grams per cubic centimeter, and thus any plastic or other material with a lower density than that will float, and anything with a higher density will sink.

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