Everything You Need to Know About Plastic Bag Material Types

Everything You Need to Know About Plastic Bag Material Types

By AAA Polymer | Plastics Recycling

Dec 23

Contrary to popular belief, there are no one-size-fits-all plastic bag solutions. In fact, choosing the best plastic bag starts with having a semblance of an understanding of the different plastic bag material types. Fortunately, the experts at AAA Polymer are here to help. 

We are a team of plastic experts specializing in all things plastic, including can liner selection, plastic film recycling, PCR resins, and much more. Simply put, if it involves plastic materials, we've more than likely got a hand or two involved; and we're always willing to help you. Let's take a closer look at some of the core plastic bag material types. 

Low-Density Polyethylene Plastic Bags

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) resins are typically used in the creation of plastic bags for food packaging and in the manufacturing of utility bags. The LDPE polymer is manufactured with short, branched chains that are widely spread and are of low density. 

Key Characteristics of LDPE Bags

The result of this manufacturing process is a plastic bag that boasts moderately low tensile strength and is very light in weight. 

At the same time, LDPE bags have a low melting point, which makes them ideal for heat sealing applications. The light nature of the polymer means it's relatively translucent, so it's easy to identify the contents it carries.

Who Uses LDPE Plastic Bag Material Types

Due to its incredible strength, low density materials are regularly used to make contractor trash bags. LDPE plastic bags can be found in restaurants and other culinary establishments looking to package food items. 

Butcheries, dry cleaners, and suppliers of consumable produce will typically use LDPE bagging solutions because it's relatively cheap and see through. In addition, LDPE materials can be used to manufacture stretch films, garment bags, foams, bubble wrap, and produce bags. 

High-Density Polyethylene Types of Plastic Bags

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) types of plastic bags are undoubtedly the most common in the world. Unlike LDPE material, the chemical composition of HDPE features long chains of straight molecules that are very linear from start to finish. HDPE polymers have minimal branching. 

Key Characteristics of HDPE Bags

The chemical makeup creates highly-dense plastic bags that are lightweight, sturdy, and relatively opaque. The key attribute of HDPE material is in its exceptional ability to hold large volumes of weight without breaking. 

HDPE is also resistant to water, chemicals, and heat. Because HDPE bags are opaque, they are regularly used to conceal contents being housed inside. In addition, HDPE bags are safe for transporting food. 

Who Uses HDPE Plastic Bag Material Types?

HDPE resins are used across a range of industries, including the manufacturing of utility bags, laundry bags, and garbage bags. High density can liners are regularly used to carry heavy loads without rough edges, such as:

  • Office waste
  • Shredded paper
  • Restroom waste

HDPE materials can be used to create bags for packaging, handling, and serving food as well as applications that need an oxygen or CO2 barrier. 

Linear Low-Density Polyethylene Material 

Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) resins are used to manufacture food bags, newspaper bags, and garbage bags. Offering something similar to the best of both worlds, the LLDPE polymer has non-branching chains with a low tensile strength similar to HDPE. 

Use Less, Get More with LLDPE Bags

LLDPE bags are characterized by offering exceptional strength and puncture resistance. In fact, a lighter gauge LLDPE bag has been proven to be equivalent in strength to a heavier gauge LDPE bag. This means, when you use bags made of LLDPE, you can use less material and achieve the same strength of a thicker LDPE bag. Additionally, the use of LLDPE bags can help reduce the environmental impact. 

Medium Density Polyethylene Material 

If you're looking for a material with a bit of LDPE and a bit of HDPE, medium density polyethylene (MDPE) may be your solution. This resin has unique characteristics for very specific applications. 

For instance, it's not as opaque as HDPE material, not as clear as LDPE, and not dense enough to meet the demands of bulk storage. Fortunately, MDPE materials boast excellent resistance to chemicals, stretches easily, and has low tensile properties. As a result, MDPE is typically used in packaging films

Contact AAA Polymer for the Best Plastic Bag Material Types 

When it comes to selecting the best plastic bag material, it's critical your choice is up to the task at hand. However, you don't have to choose on your own. The experts at AAA Polymer can help. We'll listen to your facility's needs and guide you to the best solution. In fact, helping you choose the best plastic bag material type is one of the key components of our can liner audit. 

Contact AAA Polymer today to learn which plastic bag material type is best for your application.

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