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October 27, 2021
What Are Plastic Drums Made Of?

What are Plastic Drums Made of?


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 Poly drums are available in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles


Just kidding.

You may have heard someone call plastic drums “poly drums” before, which is just a slightly more specific way of referring to them. The type of plastic used in these containers is called high density polyethylene (HDPE). Polyethylene is a polymer that is available in different densities and grades, making it one of the most useful and wide-spread plastic polymers in the world. It’s used in everything from shrink wrap, to plastic bottles, to playground equipment, all the way to plastic drums (such as our THO55).

Linear Low Density Polyethylene: Very flexible, translucent. Utilized for producing stretch films, packaging, general purpose films.

Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE): Semi-rigid, translucent. Used for squeeze bottles, liners, trash bags, films, and flexible toys (remember slinkies?).

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE): Flexible, but firm and returns to its original shape when flexed, translucent but often dyed. Used for crates, trays, bottles, f-style cans, IBCs, automotive components, pipes, and most importantly, 55 gallon drums.


Plastic drums stacked on pallets with stretch wrapWhat are the Advantages of Plastic Drums?

Being that poly drums are made of high density polyethylene, they offer all of the advantages of the material. Plastic is lightweight, flexible, and resistant to most solvents, diluted acids, alkalis, and alcohols. HDPE is also excellent for low-temperature storage, since it toughens up and becomes firmer under exposure to cold.

There’s also the beneficial advantage of FDA compliance with new, poly drums. You can ship and store foods and drinks inside of containers made with this material, without worrying about plastic seeping into or absorbing the product.


Why Should I Use Poly Drums?

You may read the advantages provided by polyethylene and wonder how they can benefit you. Well, if you’re trying to decide between a steel drum and a plastic drum, there are a few factors you may want to consider.

First, do your research. Determine if your product can appropriately be shipped and stored in either one, or if you have certain requirements that you need to meet in order to use a container (UN or DOT requirements specifically).

If, after doing your due diligence, you determine that your product could potentially be shipped in either a steel drum or a plastic drum, consider the following factors: 

  • Price: Poly drums are typically a bit cheaper than their steel counterparts, due to them being easier to manufacture and material costs being lower.
  • Weight: If you’re shipping products inside of drums, you’ll be paying a much higher shipping cost for heavier drums. Poly drums are typically lighter than steel, so you can save a bit on shipping, and save your back when you’re moving your material around the warehouse.
  • Corrosion Resistance: Corrosive materials should typically not be shipped or stored in steel drums. Plastic drums often offer a higher resistance to these types of materials.


After considering all of the factors in this article, you hopefully have a better understanding of the advantages offered by plastic drums, and what they’re made of. HDPE is a lightweight, durable, and compatible material that can be used in a variety of industries for a wondrous amount of applications. To recap, high density polyethylene is a plastic polymer that can help you cut down costs while still remaining durable and compliant with UN and DOT requirements.


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