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When selecting a type of plastic, you have to consider s strength, flexibility, heat resistance, and solubility. No single plastic is perfect for every use, but there is one plastic out there that can take on almost any job: HDPE.

HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, is the most widely used type of plastic in the world. This versatile material is in hard hats and shampoo bottles. It’s the lining of your cereal box and the jug of milk in your fridge. It can last for decades underground exposed to mold, mildew, insects, and rushing water. It’s not a question what HDPE can do. It’s a question what it can’t do.

The Advantages of Using HDPE

Light and Strong

Shipping businesses select HDPE for their containers to save money on fuel. A 2 oz HDPE container can easily hold 9 lbs, making it one of the most weight-efficient materials out there. For the same reason, HDPE is often used for car parts such as fuel tanks, bumpers, seats, and interior linings. When heavier materials are swapped out with HDPE, the fuel efficiency rises.

Recyclable

HDPE is singly responsible for driving the plastic recycling system to success. Household items made of HDPE are marked with a “2” and are accepted by the vast majority of recycling companies. The recycled material is still useful for making a variety of things, including containers and car parts, though it does not last quite as long as the original. Read more about HDPE recycling.

Reliable Under Pressure

When things go wrong, other materials commonly shatter into shrapnel, creating a dangerous situation. HDPE, however, is more likely to either bounce or rip apart, still maintaining its whole integrity and keeping the situation from escalating. This is why HDPE is the preferred material in the pyrotechnics trade.

Healthier than PVC

HDPE’s most popular alternatives, PVC and polycarbonate, are associated with Bisphenol A (commonly known as BPA), which has been called into question due to environmental and health concerns. The material is shaped similarly to estrogen and may have a negative impact on child development and overall health. While biodegradable, the material can become trapped in water or soil and build up, leading to unforeseen environmental consequences.

While BPA is not the most dangerous chemical out there, more companies are opting for safer alternatives. For example, manufacturers of baby bottles and water pipes generally prefer HDPE.

This versatile and reliable material is an unsung hero of modern industry. Its surprising strength and flexibility makes it a candidate for almost any task. See how we are using HDPE for our clients.