Difference Between Resin and Plastic

Resin vs Plastic

Resin and plastic are of an organic nature which is mainly made up of long hydrocarbon chains. Due to the presence of repetitive units, both have polymer characteristics. While resins are more of a natural form, plastics are generally synthetic or semi-synthetic in nature.

More on Resins

Resins, talking from a chemical point of view, can be categorized as a group of solid or semi-solid amorphous compounds that are obtained directly from plants as exudations. They usually have a clear yellowish brown colour and are highly viscous substances that harden into transparent solids with treatment. Resins are mainly composed of volatile liquid terpenes and less amounts of dissolved non-volatile solids thereby making the resins sticky (gluey) and thick. Bicyclic terpenes are the most common type of terpenes found in resins.

Resins have been used in a wide range of applications for many years. To seal boats, mummies, food containers etc. Resins also serve as a component in varnish, lacquer, jewellery, perfume, and inks. With the advancement in technology, new methods were found to develop these resins into functional polymers, and synthetic resins soon came into being.

More on Plastic

Plastic can be broadly categorized as a type of synthetic resin. However, more correctly they are synthetic or semi-synthetic organic polymers of high molecular mass which are mouldable. Generally plastics are derived from petrochemicals, and most remain partially natural. Plastics being typical polymers of hydrocarbons also contain other elements such as oxygen, sulphur, nitrogen and halogens. Often other organic and inorganic additives are mixed into plastics, to improve their properties and colour. E.g. plasticizers – reduce the rigidity of plastics.

Plastics can be categorized under several forms due to its chemical nature and structure. They are acrylics, silicones, polyesters, polyurethanes and halogenated plastics. Furthermore, there are plastics purely natural in character and are known as bioplastics which are usually made from renewable plant material.

Synthetic resins are generally more stable, predictable and have a uniform character since they are produced under controlled conditions. Hence the possibility of the introduction of impurities is minimal.  These are often cheaper and easier to refine. Some unique properties of plastics can be listed as follows. They are hard, dense, and resistant to heat, oxidation, ionizing radiation, and organic solvents. The uses of plastics are so wide that they are found in paper clips, bottles, textiles, furniture, food packaging, fibres, automobiles etc. Due to the desirable properties of plastics they have been able to replace many other forms of material used in the past such as wood, glass, metal, ceramics, leather, paper etc. Some common types of plastics are polythene, Bakelite, PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) and Nylons.

What is the difference between Resins and Plastic?

• Resins are more of a natural origin directly derived from plant oozes whereas plastics are of a synthetic polymeric nature.

• Plastics are more stable, predictable and lack impurities unlike resins where impurities cannot be avoided.

• Resins are mainly derived from plants, whereas plastics are mainly derived from petrochemicals.

• Plastics are hard and dense in nature, whereas resins are viscous and gluey substances.

• Plastics are slow in degrading; therefore, causes environmental pollution, and various additives found in plastics have toxic characteristics whereas resins, being purely natural, remain environmental friendly.


Read more:

1. Difference Between Polymer and Plastic

2. Difference Between Resin and Polymer

3. Difference Between Thermoplastic and Thermoset Plastic

4. Difference Between Polycarbonate and Plastic