HDPE is one of the most commonly recycled plastics around the world. This type of plastic carries the universal ‘Number 2’ inside the recycling triangle. Whilst the material is used in lots of products we use every day, it’s non-biodegradable. HDPE stands for High Density Polyethylene, the ‘ethylene’ part means the plastic is derived from oil making it an expensive virgin polymer.
Use of HDPE plastic:
HDPE has many uses, it has a high crystalline structure, which makes it rigid, strong and can handle a wide range of temperatures. Its main uses include:
- Containers of all types (including bins, boxes and various storage items)
- Construction pipe (to carry gas, water and electrical cabling underground)
- Food Packaging (including Milk Bottles)
- Household Good such as fences, pots, interior items and furniture
HDPE Film also exists! Commonly people think that all film is made from LDPE however, HDPE film offers a thicker and stronger alternative.
How is HDPE recycled?
Typically HDPE is recycled through a granulation process. If plastic recycling factories take in mixed grades of HDPE material, they are sometimes separated before processing. This allows the factory to make a higher-grade product for onward sale to manufacturers. Using recycled HDPE considerably cheaper than buying virgin material, the price of HDPE is mainly driven by the price of oil plus other global factors.