In the world of packaging, plastic film is a popular choice due to its thin, yet durable composition. Plastic film can be made from a variety of resins, including Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE), and High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), along with other types of plastic such as Polypropylene (PP) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC).

While plastic film can be made from multiple materials, polyethylene (PE) plastic film is one of the most popular choices for applications such as food packaging, plastic bags, electronics packaging, stretch film, and more due its strength, protective qualities, and cost-effectiveness.

HDPE is one of the most widely used polymers, with applications across converting processes. It’s a strong and stiff material, making it a solid choice for extrusion film applications such as garbage bags, grocery bags, or industrial liners.

Often categorized with LDPE due to similar qualities, LLDPE is another polymer often used to make plastic film products. While LDPE and LLDPE share characteristics, LLDPE has a few unique traits that set it apart from LDPE - such as tensile and impact strength, as well as heat sealability. This makes LLDPE the ideal choice for a product like stretch wrap.

Benefits of HDPE and LLDPE Film

While HDPE and LLDPE film are both part of the polyethylene family, the materials both provide plastic converters with specific benefits that make them ideal for different applications.

For example, HDPE is well known for its:

  • Resistance to chemicals and solvents
  • High tensile strength
  • Useful temperature capabilities
  • Overall toughness
  • Hydrophobic qualities

These qualities make it ideal for applications such as deep-freezer bags, liquid packaging for household chemical products like detergents or cleaning supplies.

On the other hand, LLDPE is well known for qualities such as:

  • Resistance to acids and oils
  • Flexibility and transparency
  • Resistance to environmental stress cracking
  • Puncture resistance
  • Impact resistance

With its high-resistance to breaking and outside contaminants, LLDPE is often used for protective packaging, such as shrink or stretch films for food packaging.

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Advantages of Choosing Plastic Film

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH)2, approximately 50% of the 35 million ton of PE resin produced is used to make plastic film. North American, western European and Asian markets each consume approximately 25–30% of the PE film produced globally. Popular film applications include carrier bags, sandwich bags, freezer bags and cling wrap, and horticultural uses include irrigation pipes and field liners.

One of the key benefits of leveraging flexible plastic film packaging is its ability to lightweight products. For example, traditional glass or hard plastic packaging can be heavy, costing companies extra to transport and have a higher risk of breaking. Flexible plastic packaging made of PE is cheaper to produce, less likely to be damaged in transport, and can be heat sealed to help preserve the shelf life of perishable products.

With the coronavirus pandemic enhancing consumer focus on hygiene, flexible plastic packaging is expected to increase in areas like grocery and household supplies as single-use packaging yields sanitation benefits and protects food and products from outside contaminants.Both HDPE and LLDPE are both strong and chemical, oil, grease, and moisture resistant, making it a top choice for creating flexible polyethylene packaging.

1 https://www.icis.com/explore/resources/news/2007/11/06/9076161/polyethylene-linear-low-density-lldpe-uses-and-market-data/

2, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2873019/

3 https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/paper-forest-products-and-packaging/our-insights/how-the-packaging-industry-can-navigate-the-coronavirus-pandemic

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