Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) sheets are extremely versatile, and this sheeting type is used to create food packaging, plastic bags, tarps for agricultural use, and many more product types. However, there are many myths surrounding LDPE that lead to misconceptions about how it can be used, its safety, and/or its environmental friendliness.
Read on to learn about a few of the myths surrounding LDPE sheets and the facts behind the misconceptions.
1. LDPE Sheets Cannot Be Recycled
One of the most common misconceptions about LDPE sheets is that these sheets cannot be recycled after they reach the end of their lifespan like other polyethylene types, such as high-density polyethylene, can be.
However, the truth is that not only can more rigid LDPE products and sheets often be placed right inside of plastic recycling bins alongside other plastic household items that are picked up at the curb by municipal recycling services, but thin, flexible LDPE sheets, such as plastic wrap, can also be recycled; while curbside pick-up is not widely available for this LDPE type, many recycling centers will accept it when dropped off at the facility.
Recycled LDPE is often turned into trash cans, floor tile, house paneling, and even plastic furniture.
2. LDPE Contains Bisphenol A (BPA)
Many people choose to purchase only BPA-free plastic sheets and other items when possible, especially when they plan to use the plastic items with or near food. While the FDA reports that exposure to small amounts of BPA is not a health hazard, the agency and the public are still concerned that exposure to too much of this substance that is present in some plastic types could lead to brain development problems, reproductive system disorders, and other health problems.
Contrary to popular belief, LDPE is completely BPA-free, so LDPE sheeting can be used for food packaging and storage applications with no worry that this harmful chemical will contaminate the food it touches or holds.
3. LDPE Is Inferior to HDPE
Another common myth about LDPE is that it is similar to high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, yet an inferior plastic, because it is not as strong as HDPE. However, the truth is that neither type of polyethylene is superior to the other, and each polyethylene type has its unique benefits that lead to it simply being a better option for some applications than the other.
LDPE has a less compact molecular structure than HDPE, which makes it less dense, softer, and more flexible than HDPE. For this reason, LDPE is a better option for applications where maximum plastic flexibility is important, while HDPE is a better option when creating some other product types. In fact, the flexibility of LDPE is what makes it ideal for use in the creation of plastic sheets. The attributes of HDPE, on the other hand, make it ideal for the creation of products that require maximum rigidity, such as plumbing pipes.
4. LDPE Is Too Flexible to Be Molded
Another misconception about LDPE is that this material is always so soft and flexible that it can only be used to create extremely flexible items, such as plastic tarps and plastic food wrap, and cannot be molded into shapes that require just a bit of rigidity.
However, the truth is that LDPE is available in densities that range from 0.910–0.940 g/cm3, and denser LDPE materials are slightly more rigid than less dense ones. Denser LDPE can be molded into many shapes, such as flexible plastic food containers. In addition, LDPE is used to create a variety of prosthetic medical devices that require molding during the manufacturing process.
Low-density polyethylene is a versatile plastic type that has many uses. This plastic is ideal for use in the creating of LDPE sheets, although additional uses of LDPE are virtually endless. If you have heard these LDPE myths, then now you know the facts behind them. Contact a manufacturer for more information regarding LDPE sheeting.