All plastic packaging begins as tiny resins. Resins are small materials used to form molecular structures known as polymers, which are then made into the packaging supplies and equipment you buy for your products. Basically, resins are the beginning form of any type of plastic material put on the market. Plastic resins come in many different forms, and each type of resin supplies different benefits and advantages for the products they create.
The different resins will dictate the types of characteristics shown by plastic packaging, such as the ability to block moisture or the capability to resist chemicals and solvents. Let’s take a look at the seven different plastic resins that are used to create packaging supplies and materials. This will give you a deeper understanding of how plastic packaging is made and allow you to know exactly what you’re purchasing from packaging distributors.
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
The most common material used for making plastic bottles and containers is high-density polyethylene or HDPE. This type of plastic is found in every industry, from food containers to cleaning supplies. It’s frequently used for cosmetics as well. You’ll find it regularly in all of these industries because of its high strength and durability.
HDPE also provides good chemical and solvent resistance, which is why it’s used to hold many types of formulated products. HDPE can be manufactured without a pigment, which leaves the container transparent for excellent clarity, or with pigment for added marketing capabilities. It also enjoys extra stress and crack resistance when given a pigment.
Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Low-density polyethylene is commonly used to create plastic films because of its high flexibility. This plastic material provides many advantages for packaging, including durability and toughness. With LDPE, you can achieve high clarity for excellent product presentation, which is why it’s frequently used to create cleaning bags, food packaging, and shrink wrap. Because of its toughness and flexibility, LDPE is the ideal choice for heat sealing applications. It also offers resistance to acids, bases, and many oils or greases.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE)
Polyethylene terephthalate is a common material found all throughout the packaging industry. You’ve likely encountered PET plastic when picking out your favorite soda or sports drink at the local store. This resin is frequently used to create plastic bottles for all types of beverages because of its high durability and impact resistance. PET provides excellent moisture and gas barrier properties, which allows it to hold fizzy or carbonated drinks with ease. It’s also commonly used for injection-molded products, where the plastic material is introduced to a pattern and left to cool in that particular shape.
Polypropylene can be found in flexible or rigid products and offers a high melting point. Because PP has excellent clarity and strong vapor barrier properties, it’s frequently used in food packaging. The material also provides good solvent and chemical resistance. Polypropylene is commonly used for deli bags and take out containers. It significantly helps preserve the freshness and taste of packaged foods.
Polystyrene has the unique ability to be rigid or foamed for added versatility. It’s mostly found in protective packaging supplies or food packaging. The high melting point allows it to accommodate hot foods and liquids with ease, which is why you can find polystyrene cups for coffee or containers for carrying out food. When left rigid, this plastic resin provides durability and toughness, as well as moisture barrier properties for short-term storage. Polystyrene is also used to package materials that need durable protection for their shipping journey.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC, Vinyl)
PVC or Vinyl is used for numerous packaging supplies and equipment. It can come in rigid or flexible forms of packaging and is renowned for high stability and durable weathering capabilities. Vinyl and PVC is also resistant to many chemicals and solvents, allowing it to fit in multiple industries, including building and construction projects. This type of plastic can also provide good electrical properties, which makes it useful for packaging some types of electronic products and equipment.
These seven types of plastic resins are used to create all types of packaging materials, from tape and stretch film to poly bags and plastic sheeting. They each bring unique qualities to the materials they form, which allows you to maximize your packaging operations.
We hope this article has helped you understand the different types of resins for plastic packaging, and we would be happy to answer any questions you have related to your specific application. Feel free to contact us today to talk about plastic packaging solutions.