Polyethylene is one of the most versatile types of plastic. It is used for numerous packaging applications, from food and beverages to pharmaceutical packaging. In all of these cases, it is used to keep items fresh, safe from damage, and away from possible contaminants until they reach the consumer – and often long afterward.
Types of Polyethylene
There are several types of polyethylene used in packaging. The most common varieties include:
- PET or PETE – Indicated with a number one on the packages it is used to make, Polyethylene terephthalate is the most rigid and dense of these types of plastics. It is used for high-impact applications, such as protecting sodas and soft drinks with durable bottles and safeguarding vitamins and supplements.
- HDPE – HDPE – or high-density polyethylene – is known for its lightweight yet rigid structure. It is opaque in appearance and strong for its mass. The most common application for HDPE is milk jugs, juice bottles, and squeeze bottles for syrups, butter, and condiments. It is denoted with a number 2 on the packages it is used to create.
- LDPE – Much softer and less rigid than HDPE, LDPE is the thin, see-through cousin of this type of plastic. Best known for its use in bread bags, pliable can lids, and grocery bags, this extremely lightweight type of plastic is highly recyclable. LDPE packages are marked with a number 4.
Why Choose Polyethylene?
Why is polyethylene so popular in packaging food, medications, and more? Because it is easy to wash and reuse, simple to recycle, and has so many applications. What’s more, polyethylene is excellent for protecting packaging contents and keeping them safe from harm, which in turn does the same for consumers.