Low-density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Polyethylene (LDPE) Recycling

Jul 27, 2021

Low-density polyethylene, often referred to as “LDPE”, is a thermoplastic that is most commonly used in the manufacturing of disposable plastic bags, due to its FDA compliance, hydrophobic properties, low cost, and fair temperature resistance (up to 80 degrees Celsius) [1]. Many forms of LDPE are flexible and translucent when stretched thin, such as the aforementioned plastic bags, as well as plastic wrap, in addition to various forms of packaging, such as squeeze bottles and food packaging [1].

The highly branched molecular structure of LDPE.

Despite its ubiquitous use in most of everyday life, LDPE is not often recycled. Many municipalities do not accept LDPE (resin code 4) in their curbside recycling due to the difficulties in processing most LDPE products [2]. The worst offenders in this regard are plastic bags, as they have a tendency to get jammed in conventional recycling machinery [2].

LDPE has a resin identification code of 4.

As a result, many LDPE products end up in landfills, where they can last for centuries, potentially leaching hazardous chemicals into the groundwater supply, or damaging surrounding wildlife. These plastics are also extremely detrimental to marine ecosystems. Aquatic life such as turtles may mistake plastic bags and other LDPE products as food, resulting in fatal ingestion.

Plastic grocery bags are the single most common usage of LDPE.

At Reclaim Plastics, we are well-equipped for your LDPE recycling needs. Help us preserve our environment by keeping these plastics out of our landfills and oceans, and instead diverting them to our sustainable and responsible recycling processes for the benefit of us all.

References

[1] Omnexus, “Polyethylene (PE) Plastic: Properties, Uses & Application,” Specialchem.com, 2018. https://omnexus.specialchem.com/selection-guide/polyethylene-plastic (accessed Jul. 28, 2021).

[2] R. Miller, “Keeping LDPE From your Business Out of Landfills,” Miller Recycling, Nov. 18, 2019. https://millerrecycling.com/ldpe-out-of-landfills/ (accessed Jul. 28, 2021).

The highly branched molecular structure of LDPE.

LDPE has a resin identification code of 4.

Plastic grocery bags are the single most common usage of LDPE.

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