Plastic is a material made from natural or synthetic polymers that can be molded into shape. There are many different types of plastic, but one of the most popular is high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic. Here is a guide to what HDPE plastic is and the major benefits of using it.
What Is HDPE Plastic?
HDPE or high-density polyethylene is a type of thermoplastic that is made from ethylene, which is a gas obtained from fossil fuels such as petroleum. Ethylene molecules are bonded together in chains and react with chlorine to produce polyethylene. This is processed into long strands called ‘thesis’, which are then chopped up again to become the plastic product.
The process of making high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic starts by putting ethylene gas under immense pressure. Ethylene is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon and is extracted from petroleum through fractional distillation, which separates hydrocarbons into different parts based on their boiling points.
After the ethylene has been broken down into its smallest components it is then exposed to high levels of heat and chlorine to form polyethylene. The polyethylene is then turned into a thesis, which is a long strand of plastic made up of many smaller strands called polymer chains.
After it has been chopped up, the thesis is melted and extruded to make the final product: high-density polythene plastic. Then, as the folks at Shapes Plastics explain, the final product, HDPE, is easy to cut to size with the right equipment. There are two different types of high-density polyethylene plastics, high impact, and low density. High impact HDPE is stronger and more durable than low density, but both have the same chemical composition. Here are the benefits of HDPE.
HDPE plastic is a very durable material. This is because high-density polyethylene plastic is a very tough polymer, which means it can bend without breaking. To illustrate how strong it is, an egg can be safely carried in a plastic bag made out of HDPE.
Because high-density polyethylene plastic is so strong, products that are made from it will last a long time with very little deterioration. Products such as:
- Bottles made from HDPE plastic are incredibly durable and can be reused many times. They are less likely to break or crack than bottles made from other types of plastic.
- Containers made from HDPE plastic are very strong and can be reused many times without breaking.
- Bags made from HDPE plastic are very strong and durable.
- Toys made from HDPE plastic are very durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear.
HDPE plastic is non-toxic, which means it is safe to use for food and drink storage. Products made from HDPE are safe to use because the ethylene used in production is gasified at high temperatures, which stops it from being toxic. Thus, it is free from chemicals such as:
BPA is a chemical that is used in plastic products to make them more durable. However, BPA has been linked to health problems such as breast cancer and fertility issues, so it has been banned from being used in baby bottles by the European Union.
Dioxin is a chemical released during combustion or incineration processes. It is a toxic compound that can cause a range of health problems, including cancer.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is used in the process of making some types of plastic. It has been linked to infertility and problems with fetal development, so it has been banned in certain products such as children’s toys.
Phthalates are chemicals that are used to make plastic products more flexible. However, they have been linked to health problems such as birth defects and hormone disruption, so they have been banned from being used in children’s toys by the European Union.
Lead is a heavy metal that can be poisonous if ingested. It has been banned from being used in children’s products by the United States and the European Union.
Mercury is a poisonous metal that can cause serious health problems. It has been banned from being used in children’s products by the United States and the European Union.
Resistance to Corrosion
High-density polyethylene plastic is resistant to corrosion, which means that it does not rust or corrode over time. This makes it a good choice for products that will be exposed to the elements, such as:
- Containers made from HDPE plastic are resistant to corrosion and can be used for food storage in humid environments.
- Toys made from HDPE plastic are resistant to corrosion and can be played outdoors without fear of them being damaged.
- Yard tools made from HDPE plastic are resistant to corrosion, so they will not rust or corrode when they are left out after use. This makes them a good choice for this type of product because it means you won’t have to worry about your yard tools rusting and becoming unusable.
HDPE plastic is incredibly sustainable because it is made from a renewable resource: ethylene gas. Polyethene, the material HDPE plastic is made from, can be produced using just a fraction of the energy needed to produce other forms of plastic. What’s more, it can be recycled an infinite number of times without losing any of its properties, making it an environmentally-friendly choice for products.
HDPE plastic is a good thermal insulator, which means that it can help to keep products cool or warm. This makes it a good choice for products that need to be kept at a specific temperature, such as:
- Food containers made from HDPE plastic can help to keep food fresh by keeping it cool.
- Milk bottles made from HDPE plastic can help to keep milk cold and fresh in the fridge.
- Ice packs made from HDPE plastic can be used to keep food cold in the freezer. What’s more, these ice packs are flexible, which means that they can easily be molded to fit into different containers.
- Coffee cups made from HDPE plastic are insulated, so they will help to keep your coffee warm.
Transparency and Clarity
HDPE plastic is transparent and has a high degree of clarity, which makes products made from it easy to see through and aesthetically pleasing. What’s more, it can be pre-colored so that the final product has the same color all the way through. To illustrate how the coloring is done, here is an example:
Suppose you have a product that needs to be a specific color, like yellow. The manufacturer will take pellets of HDPE plastic in the required color and add them to the manufacturing process. This means that the final product will be the same color all the way through, without any blemishes or patches.
In conclusion, HDPE plastic is a versatile material that has many benefits. It is resistant to corrosion, sustainable, thermal insulative, and transparent. What’s more, it can be pre-colored so that products made from it have a consistent color throughout. This makes HDPE plastic an ideal choice for a wide range of products.