All about Plastics: HDPE & MDPE 2

Is your brain feeling stuffed from yesterday? Well if not, today we are going to talk about plastics recycling number 2. There are two plastics that are accepted under this recycling number. They are HDPE and MDPE. Before you ask, LDPE falls under recycling number 4, so we will get to it later this week! These acronyms stand for High-density polyethylene and Medium-density polyethylene. Now what is the difference?

The difference between HDPE and MDPE is that HDPE is slightly stronger and heavier that MDPE. Both of these plastics are made in a similar manner by combining petroleum with a catalyst like chromium/silica catalysts, Ziegler-Natta catalysts or metallocene catalysts.

The production manner of these plastics means that these are plastics with a good resistance to dropping, rapid temperature changes as well as resistance to some solvents. This makes these containers ideal for milk jugs, cleaner bottles, yogurt containers, shampoo & conditioner bottles, as well many more uses including construction and medical uses.

So… where can we find HDPE & MDPE being used?

HDPE & MDPE are used most commonly used in bottles and tubs, as well as cereal bags! HDPE & MDPE are a common container material in both the food and cosmetics industries because HDPE & MDPE are squeezable and have low costs in comparison to PET. This means that you don’t have to have higher products costs just to pay for the containers!

HDPE & MDPE are accepted at many recycling centers and are often recycled into laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, recycling containers, plastic lumber, doghouses, picnic tables as well as other sturdy outdoor objects like playhouses and storage bins.

That being said, what are the pros and cons for you using HDPE & MDPE containers for your products?


  • Has the ability to be very squeezable
  • Has a lower cost than PET or other plastics
  • Is naturally translucent
  • Is easily recycled
  • The best way to sanitize is to dip in water/Hydrogen Peroxide solution containing 3% Hydrogen Peroxide and allow to air dry.
    • When dipped in a 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution to sanitize, any remaining dry water marks are less obvious.
  • Shatterproof and ideal for slippery bathrooms!
  • Can handle rapid temperature changes.


  • Can’t be transparent or clear

I hope I didn’t bore you today! Check back in tomorrow for the next plastics on our list, PVC (Polyvinyl chloride)!

Recycling symbol for HDPE & MDPE plastics

Recycling symbol for HDPE & MDPE plastics

HDPE Milk Jugs.

HDPE Milk Jugs.

HDPE Grocery Bag.

HDPE Grocery Bag.

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About Andee

Director of Happiness. I'm a thirty-something soap snob. I've grown up with handmade soaps, and I love them! I really like making lotions, soaps, and perfumes. I adore mixing scents to come up with something new. My favorite scent is either Wicked or Cotton Candy. I tend to hoard fragrances, I even have an Earl Grey Tea from the MMS catalog. I won't tell you how old it is, but it sure is good!

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2 thoughts on “All about Plastics: HDPE & MDPE

  • Dennis Brankle

    What is MDPE scrap worth if I may ask? I am starting to get this material in T/L Quantities and am looking for a home for it.
    Dennis Brankle
    Marion, IN

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    • Tina

      It is worth exactly what a buy will pay for it. Do you have a recycling center in your area? A plastics repurposer? Sometimes recycled plastics can be repurposed right in your community. This is the best for everyone since it doesn’t need to be moved long distances.


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