A Worm that eats plastic bags and produces anti-freeze?

It may sound like a peculiar, almost alien things for a worm to do, but this is indeed, somewhat true. The worm, that many believe could be a solution to the world’s plastic problem has been around for a while, so the species is not a new discovery, but the behaviour of eating specifically polyethylene and producing ethylene glycol (the main component of anti-freeze), is.

The waxworm, so named because its normal diet consists mainly of beeswax has been a scourge to many a beehive, often destroying many a hive completely in its culinary path. There are two species of waxworm that has been munching on polyethylene bags, the Galleria mellonella and the Plodia interpunctella. The larvae are normally used as fish bait, but since the discovery of their tendency to eat plastic, some believe they could help us in our fight against plastic pollution. I am sure the worms won’t object to a life of feasting instead of a short life ending in the mouth or gut of a struggling fish.

The larvae transform into wax moths and they are used as bait for chub, carp and barber. In nature, they live on beeswax, which can cause devastation in our bee populations. This risk alone means that the use of these worms for plastic degrading needs to be very closely controlled.

The discovery of their taste for plastic bags was made by Federica Bertocchini who removed an infestation from one of her hives and placed them in plastic bags, but the worms simply devoured the bag.

Incidentally, Berttocchini is a researcher at the Spanish National Research Council and a scientist at Cambridge University. Needless to say, she investigated further. Her lab test showed that 100 worms could gobble up 92 milligrams of plastic in just 12 hours. This led her to believe that, instead of further placing the eco-system under strain by destroying beehives, the moths and larvae could be put to work in our war against pollution.

They seem to use the same enzyme for digesting plastic, as they do for digesting beeswax. The problem with plastic is that it tends to break into micro pieces, which means the plastic molecules are still intact, yet it is very small. Federica wanted to prove that the worms actually break the plastic down, and in order to this, she mashed up a few worms and applied the paste to the plastic. The paste broke down the plastic in the same way that the worm did. The experiment shows that they completely destroy the plastic.

Further research is being conducted to isolate the enzyme responsible for degrading plastic. The genes might then be placed into bacteria or microscopic marine organisms to break down the plastic in our oceans. However, there are strict regulations against releasing genetically modified organism into the environment since we just cannot predict what will happen to the species or the surrounding environment, much like we couldn’t predict what a problem plastic would become. A solution to this problem could be to breed these worms for the purpose of plastic degrading and change their possible diabolical effect on the environment into a positive effect instead.

To see if this will be a viable way of redirecting the species’ effect, we will need to establish if they are eating the plastic simply because they want to escape, or because they actually like it. If they use plastic as a source of energy, then we could use them for degrading plastic. Here is hoping the brilliant scientists can give us good news very soon.

Bio Plastics

A new development in plastic technology is bioplastics which is derived from renewable biomass sources such as vegetable fats and oils, corn starch, straw, woodchips, food waste, etc. Not only is bioplastic made from agricultural byproducts (which reduces waste), but it can also be made from previously used plastic bottles (single-use plastic) and other containers with the help of certain micro-organisms.

Bioplastic products look and feel the same as conventional products and they behave the same as well.

How is it different from normal plastic?

Conventional plastic is made from petroleum products, which is generally a scarce and expensive resource whereas bioplastic is made from organic materials such as corn starch and is usually made up of polylactic acid (PLA). Bio-degradable plastic is still made from petroleum-based products but it contains an additive that makes them break down at a faster rate.

Types of Bioplastics

Bioplastics are usually derived from sugar derivatives which include cellulose, starch, glucose, lactic acid and oil are commonly found in the market today. Various specialized techniques are applied to these plant-based products to turn them into thermoplastic starch, polylactic acid, poly-3-hydroxybutyrate, polyamide 11 and biopolyethylene.

Thermoplastic starch is the most widely used bioplastic at the moment, taking up about 50% of the market. The popularity can possibly be attributed to the fact that the raw materials are cheap, abundant and renewable. The complex blends of the plastic make it water resistant and very useful in processing for its mechanical properties.

Cellulose-based plastic is rarer on the market because the production process is quite expensive, Cellulose needs to be extensively refined and processed before it becomes plastic. It can be used for packaging, however, but due to the cost, it is used for mostly used for speciality packaging such as gifts.

Protein-based plastics are currently being considered and wheat gluten and cassien seem to be the favourites so far. Soy protein has been used in plastic production for the past 100 years already. The difficulties in using soy protein are that it is not water resistant and the production process is expensive.

Environmental Impact

The fact that renewable pant based biomass is used to produce the plastic, instead of expensive, rare fossil fuels, makes the production process a lot more sustainable. The raw material is easily replenished and does not use any of our scarce resources. Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced and there is a decrease in non-renewable energy consumption in the production of bioplastics.

Bioplastics can be made biodegradable. Therefore, it is up to the producer whether or not his products will have a negative, long lasting effect on the environment.

Advantages of Bioplastics

  • You get to reduce your carbon footprint because you are using a product that was created from more sustainable raw materials
  • The production process itself is less impactful on the environment
  • Non-renewable sources, which refers to fossil fuels, are not consumed. However, should there be a growing demand for these products, the plastics industry could start competing for resources with the food production industry
  • Reduction of non-biodegradable waste, which pollutes the environment. Petroleum-based products contain certain chemicals which are harmful to us and the environment and does not break down during the degrading process.
  • No additives are contained that can damage your health, like phthalates or biphenol-A
  • They do not alter the flavour or smell of the food stored in them


The HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) Jerry Can – With or Without Tap

The HDPE Jerry Can - With or Without Tap


The HDPE Jerry Can - With or Without Tap


High Density Polyethylene – What is it?

HDPE or High Density Polyethylene is one of the most durable and versatile plastics on the market today. It is a thermoplastic polymer that is made from petroleum which is known for its high strength to density ratio. HDPE is widely used for the manufacturing of many types of products from plastic building materials to car parts (fuel tanks) to bottles to plastic bags. It is also widely recycled in all its forms – be it a rigid plastic structure, or plastic bags.

It is very light, but very strong, and it is impact and weather resistant. It also doesn’t rot, mould or grow mildew, and insects and microbes do not find it to be a suitable habitat. Because the plastic is strong and re-usable, it tends to have less of an impact on the environment compared to its other plastic counterparts. However, HDPE does not biodegrade, nor can it be composted, therefore, great care needs to be taken to ensure it is recycled instead of thrown away.


How is HDPE made?


HDPE is made from petroleum using a process referred to as catalytic polymerisation.

By applying intense heat to petroleum (a process often called ‘cracking’), ethylene gas starts to form and during this process the gas molecules will attach to each other forming polymers. This produces polyethylene.

At this stage the polyethylene will have a sludgy appearance which is then put through a series of moulds which then forms granules.

This can then be used for blow moulding, extrusion and injection moulding (three methods of moulding plastic items).


Why is HDPE so popular for making bottles?


HDPE is chemically resistant, so you can store chemicals safely without the structural integrity of the plastic being threatened.

The bottles are 100% recyclable so the bottles can be used over and over again.

They are very lightweight and strong.

Unpigmented (clear) HDPE is used to manufacture milk and juice bottles whereas pigmented or coloured plastic have an enhanced fracture resistant quality. The latter is very popular for detergents and other household chemicals.


The HD Polyethylene Jerry Can


The HD Polyethylene Jerry Can is manufactured from food grade HDPE and is perfect for the storage and transportation of liquids, including water, oils such as cooking oil and motor oil and a wide variety of chemicals.

This can feature two openings to make cleaning, filling and pouring of the containers much easier. Both of these openings have screw on lids with rubber seals to prevent spillage and leakage.

The containers are manufactured in 10 litre, 14 litre and 20 litre with an option of a plain container without a tap.

The carefully designed smooth turning tap (for easily dispensing the liquids) is recessed into the body of the jerry can to prevent damage or breakage of the tap handling and transportation.

This container has a sturdy handle to assist with easy handling, designed with ease of use especially when the container is full.


JPlast Industrial Filtration Papers

filtration paper

Filter paper – a semi-permeable paper – used to detach fine substances or solids from liquids or air. It is used to reserve separate particles on the exterior and within the matrix of the paper. Our raw materials are imported from  Europe. All the final JPlast filter paper is proudly converted in Johannesburg, South Africa.


All our filter paper is imported in Jumbo rolls or in sheet form (ranging from 1mm – 1600mm) and can be converted to either disc or sheet form. The different sizes and shapes of filtration paper are utilized in different filtration apparatus and devices, such as filter presses, vacuum filter apparatus and plain filter funnels. JPlast has a variety of  filter papers, all used for filtration purposes in the laboratories of mines, universities, food industries and various scientific laboratories.


1.The different types of filter paper


  • Ash-less filtration paper

Ash-less filter paper, beneficial for quantitative routine analysis, is used in circumstances where a specific weight of substrate is required to filter out a liquid. The filter paper goes into a moisture balance, where after it gets burnt away, leaving nothing but the filtered substrate behind. These filters are acid-washed, manufactured from purified pulp and high quality cotton linters and have an exceptionally low ash content of 0.01%, making the cellulose amount 95%.


ash-less filtration paper




  • Membrane filtration paper

Membrane filters, otherwise known as ‘membranes’, act as a specific filter that lets water flow through it whilst it catches suspended solids and other substances. It is a microporous plastic film which reserves tiny pieces or microorganisms on the membrane surface. The retention can go very low and are therefore often used in application like microbiological and air pollution. This separation technique is an efficient and acknowledged technique, involving minimal preparation. The process is simple and based on the existence of semi permeable membranes.


Membrane filters comparison chart


  • Glass fiber

This filtration fiber is fabricated from 100% pure borosilicate glass, attaining reported efficiencies of 99.96%. This filter paper is extremely effective, as is does not contain binders or added artificial ingredients which may cause interference to fragile enzymatic or other chemical reactions. Moreover, Glass fiber is equipped with the advantage of reliably providing exceptionally high capacities at high temperatures.


glass fiber



  • Qualitative Filter Paper

 The qualitative grade filtration paper with medium retention and flow rate is widely used for scheduled applications, covering a broad range of laboratory applications. These filtration papers are advocated for analytical use. They are frequently used in routine separation where requiring consistent performance or in qualitative analytical techniques that condition and distinguish materials.


JPlast can provide the full range of analytical paper in 13 different types. The turnaround time from conversion of the plant takes 2 – 3 days.


Qualitative Filter Paper




2.Syringe filtration

 Syringe filters is used in conjunction with a syringe. The filter fits snugly on the syringe so that the liquid can be forced through the syringe, whereby the larger particles is retained within the syringe filter. This is used to obtain a filtered liquid and not to obtain the filtered out particles, as the particles will be inside the enclosed filter. The filters are available in two filter porosities 0.2µm and 0.45µm and in a variety of different filter materials namely Nylon, PTFE, PDVF, PES, CA and glass fibre.



syringe filter paper



JPlast provides its customers with top-quality, South African converted filtration options. Our industrial filtration paper comprise of Ash-less filtration paper, Membrane filtration paper, Glass fiber and Qualitative filter paper. The filtration paper varies in shapes and sizes, which can be converted to satisfy customer needs.

Bees are not THE threat; they are UNDER threat

Bees are not THE threat; they are UNDER threat

1. Introduction

Our beautiful dynamic South African country is endowed with diverse landscapes attracting intensified plant and pollinator populations, which is unequalled in the world. A healthy interaction between plant and pollinator is pivotal to maintaining both plant and pollinator communities. Bees, as one of the most common and important of pollinators, play a vital role in maintaining this interaction and ensuring that pollen is transferred around, and consequently new plant life is sustained.

This article will explore pollination and its importance in more depth. Moreover, it will take a look at what role bees play as pollinators in the pollination process. Lastly, it will examine the decline of pollination, its causes and some recommended solutions.

2. What is pollination and why is it important

Pollination is the transfer of pollen grains from a flower’s male anther to another flower’s female’s stigma. The purpose of this process is to fertilize plants, thereby producing new seeds and allowing more plants to grow. Even though there are some flowers that are able to develop seeds from self-pollinations, other plants and flowers require help through cross-pollination and a pollinator like a bee, butterfly or a bat, to carry pollen to other flowering plants.
Pollination is vital for our natural ecosystem as well as for artificial production environments in that it directly effects plant growth and the growth of crops. From an agricultural perspective, roughly a third of food consumed by humanity results from animal-pollinated plants. Should something cause crop pollinator populations to decline, the devastating impact on crop production will immediately be felt.

3. Bees as pollinators

It has been estimated that there are 25000 bee species worldwide, each playing an independent and indispensable role.Bees are considered to be the most common and most important biotic pollinators of angiosperms. The reason that they are so imperative is that they are operatively able to gather pollen for themselves and their larvae. Bees are also essential agents in the pollination process of wildflowers and crops. In northern temperate regions of our planet, like the U.K for example, bumblebees provide almost half of all the pollination. In South Africa the highest levels of plant and bee diversity is found in regions with predominant rainfall.

4. The decline of pollination

Certain areas of the world, such as central Europe, the United States of America and Mexico, have been experiencing a significant decline in honeybee populations, the most well-known of which is the Apis mellifera. Factors such as the effects of climate change, a decline in genetic bee colony variation, parasites, infections, the limitations on bee trade, and the use of insecticide on crops can all play a role on this decline.

 4.1. Causes

4.1.1. Pesticides

A common pesticide used by farmers and in other agricultural use, is a chemical called neonicotinoid. Neonicotinoids re a class of insecticides with lethal and instant effects, widely used in gardens on plants as well as on agricultural crops in the control of pests. When exposed to this toxic chemical, some species suffer severe consequences, such as impaired smell and memory, reduced foraging, difficulty in flying, curbed procreation and an increased susceptibility to diseases. Neonicotinoids first dissolve in water, then steadily work their way into waterways by means of agricultural runoff. The flowers then soak up the water, exposing its stems, leaves, pollen and nectar to the toxins.

Studies show that queen bees that are exposed to this pesticide, are 26% less likely to lay eggs, reproduce, or found a colony. This results in a significant decline in the bee population and even extinction of wild bee populations

4.1.2. Bacteria

A very common and dangerous bacterium is killing millions of bees is the American foulbrood disease. This serious disease is ingested by larvae in bee colonies and the bacteria grow until they kills the hosts. The hives are left with nothing but corpses carrying millions of infected spores. In due time new bees with occupy the hive and undergo the same fate.
Thus far, South Africa’s honeybee population has been rather resilient to a lot of diseases and outbreaks that are likely to affect our bee population. However, this view seems to be rapidly changing. The deadly American foulbrood outbreak hit South Africa in 2015 and caused bee colonies in the Western Cape to be decreased by 40%. Big producers, such as the United States, commonly treat this disease with antibiotics and the same practice can be followed here in order to keep the disease from spreading.

5. Solutions

5.1. Manage pollination

Currently, the only pollinator being managed in South Africa, is the native honey bee. Managing honeybee colonies carries several advantages and, unfortunately, some disadvantages too. The prime advantage extends to the foraging habits of the honeybees. This habit enables them to pollinate various crop species. The disadvantage to their transport capabilities is that they gather pollen which they then moisturise with nectar and honey and store on their hind legs, resulting in the restricted availability of pollen available for pollination. Moreover, they are highly vulnerable to pesticides, diseases and parasites – posing a threat to their commercial use and requiring advanced management strategies. It is for this reason that a honeybee is considered one of the lesser pollinators among the bee species and it is vital that other management options using native species be explored.

5.2. Support the local and organically produced

Organically produced fruits and vegetables are grown without the use of pesticides, which is advantageous for the environment and the bee population. Even though they are a bit more expensive, it is recommended to rather buy organic produce as the extra cash contributes to the health of the bees and better working conditions for the farmers.

It is also advocated that one buys humane and locally produced honey. When purchasing honey from hives on small and local farms, it contributes towards local business and supports the fair treatment of bees.

5.3. Make your own garden

A home-made garden filled with bee-friendly plants and flowers can go a long way. This will help feed the local bees, especially in urban areas where there are little to no plants and flowers to pollinate, and finally, the biodiversity of plants will increase. Create a beautiful fluorescent garden, it should be easy to encourage your peers to follow you lead.

5.4.Collaborate with one another

Building up a complete new beekeeping-farm can take time and a lot of patience. Sometimes it would just be more effective to take over an existing site. In this regard it is important for farmers and beekeepers to collaborate and work together, not only in support of a build-up and insurance that it is done so properly, but also to communicate with one another on what insecticides will and will not be applied.
5.5.Urge your government for legislation
Specific and stringent legislation is required to prevent a further decline in our bee population. It is important for the government to step in and enact legislation that will protect the bees, test honey and imported honey products, to have educated bee-keepers and help them the bees to be managed efficiently. It is our duty to urge the local municipalities to do so.


The significant role that bees play in our environment cannot be overstated. Neither can their futility.As populations are ever increasing, so is the need for crops and the exhaustion of natural resources, and finally climate change spirals out of control – all contributing factors leading to smaller bee populations. However, should bees not be properly maintained, land not properly maintained, beekeepers not properly educated and pesticides not properly used, our bee populations may cease to exist altogether.

Water purification and its advantages and disadvantages

One of the major things that we absolutely cannot live without is water. Sadly, consuming unpurified water can make us sick, and even cause our death. Water purification is an efficient method of making water drinkable, having several advantages to account for. Yet, as to any good thing, it doesn’t come without its disadvantages. This article will be looking at both the advantages and disadvantages of water purification.




1.Water purification can protect against harmful organisms


Studies have shown that unfiltered water may comprise microorganisms causing diarrhoea, vomiting and even death. Water filtration systems are required to clean the water and kill these microorganisms in order to provide people with safe drinking water. Without water purification or some sort of treatment, 90 percent of the world’s water supply is unfit for drinking.


2.Water purification removes toxic metals


Apart from the microorganisms that untreated water contains, it is also seen as a source of various minerals, including copper and magnesium. Even though some of these minerals do not necessarily pose a threat to one’s health or life, they may react and respond to different minerals, like lead and copper, which are harmful to the human body. A variety of treatments, such as disinfectant agents, chemicals and filtration systems, are employed to help decrease risk and illness by removing as much as possible of the minerals from the water.




2.Water purification may not remove pesticides


Pesticides are often used on farms or garden and run the risk of discharging into water supplies. In the event that there is a well that is contaminated, it has to be tested for pesticide pollution, as only municipal water can be treated. In dealing with pesticides and using home water filtration systems, it may not always prove to be as effective. These systems can help with the removal of chlorine and other weighty and intense metals like mercury. It may however, not be able to remove pesticides. Of a bigger concern is long-term exposure to these pesticides in water which increases   increase the danger of getting serious diseases such as cancer.


2.Water purification require regular maintenance


Water purification systems that are home-made are not always effective in providing safe drinking water. These systems have to undergo regular maintenance and often have to be replaced in order to effectively filter out all the dangerous organisms and metals. Non-adherence to these prescriptions will cause one a lot more harm than drinking directly from a tap.


Water purification is an admirable concept, but should be implemented with utmost care. Water and filters should be maintained regularly, efficiently and effectively in order to secure safe drinking water.  Water should be clear of microorganisms and toxic metals which can cause life threatening diseases. The water should be life-enhancing, and not life-threatening.

Practical solutions for sampling, transporting and storing liquids

Practical solutions for sampling, transporting and storing liquids

Many of our clients require an affordable, practical and reliable method of sampling, transporting and storing liquids. After struggling with jars designed for powders and solids (with either a screw-on or clip-on cap), we recommend they try a wide-mouthed bottle.


This is a sensible solution because large leak-proof jars are hard to find, particularly screw-cap jars. A jar that seals tightly can be used for transporting liquids provided it is handled carefully. However, if the jar is squashed or shaken during transport, there’s no guarantee it won’t leak.


To provide our customers with leak-proof peace of mind, we’ve included a silicone seal insert with our screw cap jars. Available in both 500ml and 1000ml (1L) volumes, these jars are specifically designed for liquids and powders that need to be stored in an airtight, leak-proof container.


Pour with confidence – JPlast No-Spill Beaker

In a laboratory, working with liquids can be tricky. You can’t afford to spill a drop, but few beakers are designed to pour properly. Not anymore! JPlast supplies a unique, no-spill beaker so you can pour liquids with confidence.

JPlast No Spill Range of Plastic Beakers

Made of a clear polypropylene plastic, this beaker is resistant to most chemicals, alkaline and acid. With three dripless pouring spouts, you can easily transfer liquids from the beaker into other containers. Available in volumes of 50ml, 100ml, 250ml, 800ml and 1000ml, they’re a must-have for any laboratory.


These no-spill beakers are dishwasher safe and can handle a wet temperature of up to 122°C. Bear in mind that the heat-resistance has only been tested with water and you may note some etching when heating other liquids. You can pop these beakers in the autoclave, but as they’re so affordable, you can dispose of them after using them just once.


Should the beaker accidentally slip from your hand, don’t panic! It is shock-resistant and won’t crack should it land on a hard floor. Compared to other breakable jugs and beakers, our no-spill beaker is cost-effective and practical. It’s a versatile beaker that’s equally useful for mixing paint or chemicals around the home as it is for use in the laboratory.


Liquid-tight sample tubes

When you need to ensure the integrity of liquid samples, our clear plastic PTE sample tubes are ideal. The tube includes a screw cap which stops liquids leaking out and an air-tight seal. With a tamper evident cap, you can immediately tell whether a sample has been compromised.


Made from a thick, clear plastic, these sample tubes won’t crush or bend during transportation. They are designed to handle a high pressure, which means they won’t rupture in high or low-pressure environments. If you need to transport liquid samples by air, you can rely on these tubes to keep your samples intact, all the way.


Outside of the laboratory, these tubes can be used for packaging food and alcohol (they’re completely food-safe). You may have already spotted them at a party or in a restaurant or bar for serving shooters.





JPlast can provide you with caps in a variety of colours for your sample tubes; simply specify your requirements when you order. A standard rack is available, but other racks and trays can be made to order.




Working with liquids in or out of the laboratory doesn’t have to be difficult. JPlast has all the leak-proof beakers and sample tubes you need to collect, transport and store liquid samples safely and conveniently. For more information or to place on order, call 011 760 9103/9053 or email info@jplast.co.za.

Introducing Ultraspec’s unbreakable vaginal speculum

Introducing Ultraspec's Unbreakable Vaginal Speculum

Ultraspec’s market-leading vaginal speculum is the result of extensive input from clinical professionals. Designed with both the patient and medical professional in mind, this vaginal speculum is comfortable, flexible and most importantly, unbreakable.


These are the features that make Ultraspec’s vaginal speculum the top choice:


  • Large, smooth-spinning nut
  • Wide, non-slip grip
  • Strength and flexibility

Ultraspec Vaginal Speculum: Fast, smooth-spinning nutUltraspec Vaginal Speculum: Large non-slip gripUltraspec Vaginal Speculum:Unbreakable in normal use






Even when the speculum is locked in the open position, it can be forced closed without breaking. The non-rigid design of the speculum allows it to flex where other speculums have a tendency to shatter.


The strength test is proof that Ultraspec’s vaginal speculum is the toughest on the market which makes it serious competition for the popular Smith’s Wallace speculum. Click on the image below to see the Ultraspec Vaginal Speculum Unbreakable Test.


Ultraspec Vaginal Speculum Strength Test


What all of this really means (for both medical professionals and patients) is that is reduces the time it takes to perform pelvic examinations. Thanks to the superior opening created by the speculum, doctors have a clear view and easy instrument access.


Ultraspec’s vaginal speculum is 100% latex free and it weighs up to 20% less than other speculums. It could also be considered the most environmentally-friendly speculum available. As they’re lighter, less material is used in the manufacture of these speculums and they’re packaged in recyclable material.


The subtle pink tint reassures patients without obscuring visibility and many have already expressed a preference for Ultraspec’s vaginal speculums over traditional, cold metal devices.


Ultraspec’s Sidewall Retractor – Overcoming sidewall prolapse


Ultraspec's Sidewall Retractor Front ViewTraditional speculums have no way of preventing vaginal sidewall prolapse. This restricts visibility and access and results in routine procedures taking longer to complete. It’s also responsible for the increase in the number of patients who are referred for general anaesthetic.


Ultraspec’s Sidewall Retractor consists of two blades that are inserted once the speculum is in place to displace the vaginal sidewalls and provide a clear view of the cervix. The spoon-shape of the blades minimises the risk of damage to the sidewalls and reduces patient discomfort.


The Sidewall Retractor can be used with both medium and large Ultraspec speculums. Combining a single-use speculum and sidewall retractor presents a significant cost-saving to practices. The reduction in time spent carrying out routine pelvic examinations will appeal to both doctors and patients.


Ultraspec's Vaginal Speculum with Sidewall Retractor



The superior vaginal speculum for medical professionals and patients


It’s clear that Ultraspec have created a superior speculum that caters for the needs of both doctors and patients. The design and materials make it both simple to use, strong, flexible and comfortable. The addition of the sidewall retractor increases the efficacy of the single-use speculum, further reducing the time taken to perform procedures – an important factor for both clinicians and patients.


You can now purchase Ultraspec Speculums and Sidewall Retractors directly from JPlast Plastic Products. For a FREE Ultraspec Vaginal Speculum sample, or more information on the speculums we supply, call 011 760 9103/ 9053 or email info@jplast.co.za

Polystyrene vs Polypropylene: Which polymer should you choose?

Polystyrene vs Polypropylene

When it comes to selecting a sample container for collecting and storing specimens, you’ll need to choose between polystyrene and polypropylene. These common polymers are used to make all manner of plastic lab supplies such as test tubes, petri dishes, beakers and flasks and specimen containers.


While both materials are classed as thermoplastic polymers, they have different qualities which make them most suitable for different applications. Here’s what you need to know about them:



This polymer is widely used in the manufacture of plastic laboratory supplies. It has several properties which make it ideal for use in the laboratory:


  • It’s strong and durablePolypropylene 90ml Sample Container

Polypropylene is a rugged polymer that doesn’t break easily. As it’s so durable, specimen containers made from polypropylene can be used multiple times. This makes polypropylene specimen containers more cost-effective.


  • It resists high temperatures

Much depends on the grade of polypropylene, but generally speaking, the melting point of this material ranges from 130°C – 171°C. That means polypropylene is autoclavable.


  • It is highly resistant to chemicals

That includes many acids and bases and is one of the biggest reasons why polypropylene is widely used in both laboratory and industrial applications.




Another polymer that is widely used in a variety of industries, Polystyrene is produced in large volumes. It has its own set of features that make it suitable for a variety of applications.


  • It can withstand heatPolystyrene 90ml Sample Container

Although it is not as heat resistant as polypropylene, it can withstand heat up to 100°C. However, if you require a sample container that is good at retaining heat, you should choose one made from polystyrene rather than polypropylene.


  • It’s clear and brittle

This makes polystyrene similar to glass but it costs far less to produce. Even if it doesn’t offer the durability of polypropylene, you can easily replace polystyrene lab supplies inexpensively.


  • It is resistant to chemicals

Polystyrene offers some resistance to a variety of chemicals, acid and bases. Once again, it doesn’t offer the same level of resistance of polypropylene.


Polystyrene sample containers are best suited to general sample storage and transport. This polymer is also widely used for food grade packaging products and disposable laboratory supplies.


To learn more about the chemical resistance of both polystyrene (PS) and polypropylene (PP), see our Chemical Resistance Chart.


JPlast offers 40ml and 90ml specimen containers in both polystyrene and polypropylene. All our sample containers seal tightly and can be supplied in a sterile bulk pack or individually wrapped. While the 40ml sample container is the most frequently requested size, the additional capacity of the 90ml container makes it ideal for field sampling.

JPlast 90ml Sample Containers

For more information about our specimen containers or to get your quote, please email info@jplast.co.za

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