HDPE Bottles – A Complete Guide
Few could argue about the indispensable nature of high-density
1. HDPE Bottles: A Definition
2. Types of HDPE Bottles and Containers
3. A timeline of HDPE bottles
4. In the factory
5. Blow versus injection versus stretch
6. Global recycling initiatives
7. Benefits over other materials
8. Industrial Uses 2016 to 2026
9. Range of Sizes
10. UN certification
11. Bottom Line
HDPE Bottles: A Definition
HDPE plastic is one of the most common plastics used in manufacturing, due to the material’s durability and strength. While not as clear as Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastic, HDPE bottles and containers can be translucent so that you are still able to see your product inside it. This type of plastic can also be colour matched and is popular in white.
Other identifying characteristics, which may cause a producer to specify the use of it rather than any other type of plastic, include the fact that it has a high-density, is taut with a good temperature resistance, all of which relates to its lack of chemical branching, and has an excellent water-vapour barrier.
HDPE bottles are also lightweight and food-and-beverage safe. The translucent nature of HDPE bottles makes it possible for consumers to view the amount of product still inside.
Types of HDPE Bottles & Containers
Because HDPE has moisture-barrier properties and chemical resistance, it has been found to be a perfect fit for many different bottling applications by organizations such as the American Chemistry Council, for example.
Examples of the types of HDPE bottles you are likely to come across in daily life include:
• non-carbonated beverage bottles, such as those for milk; and
• bottles designed to hold industrial chemicals, household cleaners and detergents.
HDPE bottles come in all shapes, sizes and colours.
A Timeline of HDPE Bottles
Inventor of the first man-made plastic, Alexander Parkes, claimed the substance was more versatile than rubber.
1862: Alexander Parkes invented Parkesine, the first man-made plastic, derived from cellulose. He presented his finding at the Great International Exhibition in London, but investors lost interest due to the cost of the raw materials.
1868: John Wesley Hyatt developed celluloid from a mixture of shred tissue paper, nitric acid and sulfuric acid. This first man-made thermoplastic is still used today for photographic film.
1891: Rayon was developed by Louis Marie Hilaire Bernigaut which, along with cellophane, were the precursors to the “plastics craze” of the roaring 1920s.
1907: New York chemist Leo
1908: Dr Jacques Edwin Brandenberger discovered cellophane by applying liquid viscose to cloth – the aim
A range of inventions and discoveries gave way to various different types of plastic, including PVC or vinyl (found in vegetable oil bottles and food wraps), SaranTM, Teflon, PET (used in beverage and food containers), HDPE used in the making of milk and detergent bottles), LDPE (creates plastic bags and shrink wrap), PP (found in margarine and yoghurt containers) and PS (used to make egg cartons and disposable utensils).
1977: The weight of these bottles was reduced from around 60 grams to just 48 grams.
1990: The highly progressive Coca-Cola Company began blending recycled plastic into its plastic beverage bottles.
2010: David de Rothschild led a crew on a 12 000-nautical-mile sea mission on Plastiki, which was the first ever ship created from recycled plastic bottles – with the movement towards sustainable living being a top priority among the eco-conscious.
In The Factory
Time to have a look at exactly how HDPE bottles are manufactured in the factory.
First off, three heated holding tanks commence the process – the primary one containing a natural gas derivative called ethane. The ethane is heated to well above boiling point (i.e. above +100°C) and is then pumped into a mixing tank.
From the third tank comes benzene which, when combined with UV radiation from a set of overhead lamps, serves to bring about the polymerization of ethane.
While this process describes how
Next up, the troughs drain into a further series of upright metal
Concerned with keeping such shipments on schedule?
The secret is to take action early to avoid stress close to
• Set quality standards and deadlines at the outset;
• Request regular updates on progress;
• Hire a professional third party to carry out a pre-shipment inspection; and
• Persist through hickups and, ultimately, both timing and quality issues will be resolved.
Bottle Blow Molding
In bottle production, the process is identical to that described above, except that the HDPE is allowed to drain from the sitting troughs. The material is then kept in an air-tight heated tank, where a valve places measured dollops of it onto the heads of a series of air compressors, each of which fits into a metal
While the compressor pours air into the
When the ends of the cooling HDPE bottles-to-be have the consistency of putty, they are stamped into the shape of a bottle’s mouth and screw top. And, when cooled entirely, the
Last up, factory workers clean the bottles and buff off any rough edges or imperfections, resulting in the perfect bottles we see all around us in shops, homes and businesses.
Blow Versus Injection Versus Stretch
The world of plastics is certainly a complex one, but the most popular method of mass-producing bottles is the
However, there are subtle differences between extrusion blow
• extrusion blow
• injection blow
• stretch blow
For buyers concerned about minor defects that may crop up during the
Best to test a supplier’s knowledge beforehand!
However, quality issues can also extend from such minor faults
Therefore, always go with a supplier who values the importance in their manufacturing work
Global Recycling Initiatives
According to the Institute of Scrap Metal Recycling Industries, the business potential of recycling plastics is seeing incremental growth.
In 2010, the US exported more than $940 million in
While most of the recycled scrap is still “finding a home”, Peter Spendelow, a recycling policy analyst for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has commented, the situation could get a lot worse if new recycling markets are not found.
Fortunately, new markets are cropping up in India and Malaysia, with the latter having nearly quadrupled its US-sourced imports of mixed plastics last year, jumping from about 9 600 metric tons in 2016 to nearly 38 000 metric tons, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.
Malaysia also imported substantially more recycled
Brent Bell, president of recycling for Waste Management, the largest US landfill and recycling company, explains that as exports to China dropped, as part of the country’s broad campaign against “yang laji” or foreign garbage”, the US recycling industry had “really ramped up its volumes to India (and other countries in Southeast Asia).
UK Recycling Factoids
• HDPE milk bottles are one of the most widely recycled packaging items in the UK, with recoup figures showing they are recycled up to 79% of the time.
• On average, HDPE milk bottles in the UK are now 15% lighter than they were just three years ago.
• Additionally, innovative designs like the multi-award-winning Infini bottle mean it is now possible to reduce the weight of a standard bottle by up to 25%.
• On average, HDPE milk bottles in the UK contain up to 15% recycled material.
• But, in 2013, Nampak achieved a world first by incorporating 30% recycled HDPE into its Infini milk bottle – two years ahead of industry targets.
Benefits of HDPE bottles
In what ways are HDPE bottles superior to those made from other materials?
• it’s more impact resistant
• it’s more economical
• it has a greater barrier against moisture
• it provides a safer barrier against chemicals (specifically caustics and acids)
• it is light and therefore cheaper to transport
• it is recycled with greater ease
• it is weather resistant
• it resists
Industrial Uses 2016 to 2026
On the basis of end users/consumers, the global HDPE bottles market can be divided up into the following four categories:
· Domestic use;
· Chemical industries;
· Cosmetic industries; and
· Pharmaceutical industries.
Because of the many benefits of the material, as mentioned in the infographic above, HDPE bottles are now used in the packaging of chemicals, detergents, cosmetics and fruit juices – over and above their traditional use in soft drinks and milk.
Based on the geographies, the global HDPE bottles market is segmented into five regions – North America, Latin America, Europe, APAC, and the Middle East & Africa.
Among the regions mentioned above, North America accounts for a significant share of HDPE bottles market, owing to the stringent regulations and norms in using a particular grade of plastic bottles.
HDPE bottles have gained a substantial proportion due to its chemical composition which poses the lowest threat to life and health as regards products fruit juices, milk, detergents and cleaners. The fact that all of these different products are primarily packaged in HDPE bottles today has given a massive boost to HDPE bottles market.
Europe is followed by the North American market in size, with Asia-Pacific emerging and anticipated to grow substantially in the near future due to its booming F&B industries, pharmaceutical industries, and increasing households with population rise.
In the Middle East & Africa, the market of HDPE bottles
A significant proportion of the working population, for example, travel for work and require and easy to carry, sturdy bottles for their needs. Additionally, HDPE bottles have been able to meet the requirements of a highly demanding global FMCG market.
The fact that these bottles can be recycled and therefore save energy and the environment has increased their popularity – research shows that in the US alone, one billion HDPE bottles were recycled in 2012.
A key driver in the HDPE bottle market is the stringent rules imposed by the US and other governments which inhibit the use of harmful plastic in manufacturing, which can emit harmful gasses and (oestrogenic) chemicals. Because of the high-quality demands of the HDPE bottles market, and the potential risks of poor-quality plastics contaminating the products once these bottles are filled, HDPE bottles have become the natural choice.
One restraint of this market is, however, the petroleum price. Because HDPE granules are made from petroleum, any price fluctuations in the product can have a knock-on effect on the prices of HDPE-produced bottles as well.
Range of Sizes
Any world-class plastic-production facility will be able to produce an extensive range of bottle sizes and neck finishes for their clients. For example, HDPE bottles can range from 250ml to five litres, on average, have up to 38mm necks for foil or screw cap closures, and can be clear or pigmented as per client specifications.
A frequently unknown fact about HDPE bottles is the wide variety of closure types available – from child-resistant, flip spout and lotion cap, to lock-down lotion pump, spouted cap, spray pump, trigger spray and ribbed screw cap, among others.
The United Nations (UN) Code is a mark indicating that the packaging in question has been tested in accordance with the recommendations of the United National Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.
In place for almost 30 years since January 1991, all UN certified/approved packaging must first have passed a range of rigorous testing procedures, which were implemented to ensure that packaging for potentially hazardous materials can withstand normal conditions of transportation and represent the minimum acceptable design standards/requirements.
Packaging testing under the code includes:
• the drop test;
• the stacking test;
• the leak-proof test; and
• the hydrostatic test.
If all these tests are passes, the bottle in question is certified to be in “as for shipment” condition.
All jokes aside, the primary UN requirements document alone weighs 2kg (4.4lbs).
But, it makes senses that any type of packaging or bottles, when filled and closed for shipment, will consistently perform at a specific level.
On another note, we’d like to remind our readers that it is not just the HDPE products – in this
Additionally, the premises (factories and testing facilities) should also meet the necessary quality control and/or quality assurance specifications.
Laboratories and factories that have been certified in this way are likely to refer to such certifications on a regular basis, and will also display this information for all to see. So, if a third party is carrying out your premises inspection for you, tell him to keep his eyes peeled for this info, ideally posted up on the wall.
It has a growing market, despite
Next up is the research and development (R&D) aspect of HDPE bottles. Who is doing this research; what scientific breakthroughs are they making; and why should you choose HDPE for your bottling range now, and in the future, over any other material currently on the market?
Follow JM Garcia as she transitions through the future of plastics recycling and production during the course of her scientific research – Catalyst:
Design Challenges for the Future of Plastics Recycling. We challenge you.
Do you have anything to add to the HDPE Bottle conversation? Then please feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below.