In our last Wlog we learnt about PET.
The next plastic we will know in this series is HDPE or PEHD, an abbreviation for high density polyethylene.
High Density Poly Ethylene
HDPE is the plastic that is used to make bottles of soap, shampoo, conditioners, detergent, containers for milk and oil, toys, drain pipes, outdoor signage and food storage containers. Its greatest quality is its strength. It can withstand high stress and temperatures up to 120⁰C.
Production of HDPE is not a very energy intensive process, it requires considerably less energy than the energy required to produce commonly used metals from their ores. It does not contain BPA, heavy metals or any molecules that can damage our health. It can be recycled. HDPE gets recycled into bike racks, waste and recycling receptacles, decking, benches, furniture, picnic tables, and fencing. It is environmentally stable and does not leach out any harmful chemicals in the environment. It is in fact, considered to be most eco-friendly plastic.
What differentiates high density polyethylene from low density polyethylene is that, the chains of the polymer lack branching in HDPE. Thus, it grants the plastic more toughness and stiffness.
Accumulation of HDPE in soil prevents water absorption and reduces ground water levels. It also prevents agricultural crops from growing properly as their roots cannot absorb water and nutrients. It accumulates in water sources and beaches, even though it doesn’t leach any harmful chemicals, it is a very unpleasant sight, and this leads to reduction in tourism. Many aquatic animals and birds mistake it as food and ingesting it can harm them and may also prove fatal to them. Burning HDPE can release unwanted volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere.
Hence, it is important to ensure that all the HDPE plastic products get recycled. Almost all recyclers accept HDPE plastic as it is easy to recycle.
Contact a recycler near you today, to recycle all the HDPE plastic you don’t need anymore.
Hello readers, I am Saee Gunjal, author of this Wlog. I am studying Environmental Engineering from 'The University of Toledo' ( Toledo, Ohio) and love to dance. I am passionate about environmental issues and waste management. I plan to work with the same after I graduate. Stay tuned for my next wlog on 'PVC'