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Choosing the Right Material for Your Plastic Bottles and Jars
May 10, 2024
Choosing the Right Material for Your Plastic Bottles and Jars

Choosing the Right Material for Your Plastic Bottles and Jars

The Differences Between PET, HDPE, LDPE, and More

Plastic resins are used in many types of packaging including bottles, jars, and caps. Plastic resins offer durability, impact resistance, chemical resistance, and a light weight. Some resins offer excellent moisture and oxygen barrier properties, clarity, and gloss.

Plastic bottlesPlastic bottles

PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) 

  • Commonly used for beverage bottles and food packaging.
  • Semi-Rigid to Rigid Lightweight.
  • Impact resistant. High Strength.
  • Good creep resistance. The ability of the material to resist any kind of distortion when subjected to prolonged compressive load over an extended period of time
  • Non-Porous – good liquid and gas barrier. Low moisture absorption.
  • Good chemical resistance against acids. Good alcohol & solvent barrier
  • Resistant to hydrolysis (the chemical breakdown of a compound due to reaction with water) up to 70 °C
  • Low sliding friction and sliding wear.
  • Glass-like clarity
  • Comes in a variety of colors and opacities. Naturally clear. Popular colors: Amber, Blue, Green, White, Black, purple

HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) 

  • HDPE is a great choice for food and beverage applications as many grades of the material are USDA, NSF, and FDA approved for direct contact with food

     

  • Squeezable but firm

     

  • It has a uniquely wide temperature tolerance, ranging from -100°F to about 200°F. 

     

  • Cloudy translucent color. Matte or satin finish. 

     

  • Common colors of white, black, natural, or any opaque color options 

     

  • Lightweight and food-and-beverage safe.

     

  • Good impact resistance

     

  • Great barrier against moisture

     

  • Weather resistant and resists mold and bacteria 

MDPE (Medium Density Polyethylene)

  • Combines the super pliable characteristics of LDPE and the stiff, tough aspects of HDPE

     

  • Squeezable

     

  • Good shock and drop resistance

     

  • Stress cracking resistance is better than HDPE

     

  • Very tough and flexible

     

  • Resistant to fouling (the accumulation of unwanted material on solid surfaces)

     

  • Common colors: Natural, White, Black

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) 

  • Transparent. Naturally Clear.
  • Rigid
  • Extremely good Oil resistance and low oxygen transmission
  • Good water barrier characteristics
  • Durable
  • Good for long term storage
  • Con: PVC is only accepted for recycling in some municipal recycling programs.

LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) 

  • Squeezable and soft, particularly suited for squeeze spray or dropper applications
  • Virtually unbreakable and more resistant to stress cracking than HDPERetains impact strength at very low temperatures
  • Does not withstand product fill temperatures of more than 120ºF
  • Cloudy translucent color. Matte or satin finish but can sometimes be shiny.
  • Common colors of white, black, natural, or any opaque color options
  • Con: Poor barrier to gases or solvents

PP (Polypropylene) 

  • Autoclavable
  • Excellent contact clarity
  • Can be used for hot fill opportunities beyond the limits of HDPE
  • Excellent impact strength, stress crack resistance, and barrier characteristic
  • Lightweight and strong
  • Tends to become brittle at lower temperature ranges
  • Can endure up to 240 degrees F before distorting
  • Comes in a variety of colors. Popular colors: Natural, White and Black

PS (Polystyrene) 

  • Rigid, glass-like clarity
  • Lightweight
  • Able to withstand high fill temperatures up to 150°F
  • Generally used for dry products, which are not extremely hygroscopic
  • Transparent and can be made into a variety of colors
  • Cons:  PS is only accepted for recycling in some municipal recycling programs.

The most important factor when choosing a plastic container is compatibility with the product being filled. Below is a comparison guide to assist with choosing the right material.

Do you need plastic bottles and jars in your industry? Contact us today!

With over 75 years in the packaging game, BASCO has seen it all. Even the most niche of industries have trusted us to provide them with the packaging they need, at a price that's fair. We're here five days a week, ready to answer the phone or respond to your emails, and help you find the perfect container for the job. Contact us here if you have any questions!