What Is High-Density Polyethylene?
Polyethylene is a thermoplastic originally made from petroleum. The high-density variety is known for its very high strength-to-density ratio; one cubic meter of HDPE can weigh 970 kilograms. It can also withstand temperatures of up to 248 °F for short periods of time.
Other properties are dependent on the molding process used to turn HDPE into a particular product, but the material is generally long-lasting and impact resistant. Because it’s a plastic, HDPE completely resists mold, mildew, rotting and invasive insect or animal species.
A Wide Array of Uses
HDPE’s malleability allows it to be molded into a multitude of different forms and products. You likely come into contact with it on a daily basis. The plastic can be found in things like:
- Yogurt and butter tubs
- Milk gallons
- Water bottles
- Cereal box liners
- Grocery bags
- Household cleaner containers
- Folding chairs
In addition to its use in many consumer goods, HDPE is widely used for construction endeavors. The materials strength and water resistance make it perfect for constructing corrosion-resistant piping and geomembranes used in some engineering projects. None of the plastics or chemicals leak into surrounding soil or water, meaning it is 100 percent safe.
One of the biggest strengths of HDPE is its reusability and environmental impact. All products made using the material are imprinted with the number 2 surrounded by a recycling arrow. This is HDPE’s resin identification code (RIC). Any product imprinted with this symbol can be picked up by most community’s curbside recycling programs. The RIC also allows these recycling efforts to be tracked; in 2012 it was reported that one billion pounds of HDPE had been recycled.2
HDPE is still usable after being recycled. Products like bottles and bags can be melted back down and reformed into HDPE blocks, to be molded into another form. This means the same amount of HDPE can serve multiple functions over time.
High-Density Polyethylene Comfort and Style
By the Yard Inc. is the premier manufacturer of maintenance-free outdoor patio furniture and accessories made from recycled HDPE milk jugs. We’ve partnered our 20 years of design and plastic engineering experience with a company that has over 35 years of plastic lumber extrusion expertise to create the best recycled plastic furniture available on the market today.
HDPE allows our furniture to be durable and comfortable even after decades of use and exposure to the elements. Contact us today for more information or visit one of our showrooms in either Jordan, Minnesota or Vernon Hill, Illinois!