According to Wayne Johnston, Sales Account Manager at Custom-Pak, approximately 90% of customers choose to work with High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) for their blow molding projects. Why is this material so popular?
HDPE is easy on your wallet. While certain engineered resins may cost as much as $5 per pound, HDPE averages a modest $0.70 per pound. This means that your molder could provide over 7,100 pieces using HDPE for the same material cost as 1,000 pieces using a higher-priced resin.
Though it’s inexpensive, that doesn’t mean HDPE provides cheap quality. It’s a very strong plastic suitable for weight-bearing parts, such as the seats of ATVs, lawn tractors, and other agricultural equipment. It’s also widely used for heavy-duty industrial applications, from concrete forms to fuel tanks.
You might think that for a resin to be that strong, it has to be heavy, but HDPE is prized for being lightweight, for example, polyethylene floats in water. In applications like toys, it’s strong enough to survive a beating from a toddler while remaining light enough that the smallest child can easily lift it.
And it’s not just kids that HDPE can survive. HDPE is crack-resistant and maintains its properties under a wide variety of extreme weather circumstances. It functions well from -75°F to 165°F, meaning it’ll stand up to anything you can put it through, from Alaska’s toughest blizzard to Arizona’s most sweltering heat. In fact, NASA is looking to HDPE to withstand cosmic rays, radiation, and the inhospitable atmosphere of Mars.
Polyethylene is approved by the U.S. FDA & European Chemicals Agency for food contact uses. It is approved by the Consumer Products Safety Commission for use in juvenile products.
Underwriters Laboratory provides its UL-94 HB Flammability rating. PE may be the safest plastic for the most applications on the planet.
Polyethylene is the most commonly recycled resin (code 2). This means that it’s easy to source recycled HDPE and easy for your consumers to recycle your product after use. Recycled HDPE is used to make a wide variety of products — from engineered lumber to returnable packaging — and is nearly as durable, strong, and versatile as its virgin counterpart.
So if you’re looking for a resin that’s good for business, good for consumers, and good for the environment, look no further than HDPE.
Want more info on resin options for your blow molding project? Check out our guide to plastics commonly used in blow molding.