To the untrained eye, polyethylene and polypropylene packaging can appear quite similar. While both materials do possess several of the same attributes, they are made quite unique by their intricacies and uses in various industrial applications. Both plastics are created using the same building blocks of carbon and hydrogen, but it is the structure of these elements that makes each material so unique. Polypropylene and polyethylene are two of the most common plastic packaging materials currently on the market, and with good reason. This guide explores the main differences in polyethylene vs. polypropylene packaging and the advantages of using each one for your packaging needs.
Polyethylene is one of the most commonly used plastics in the world because of its many different industrial applications. The most popular use of polyethylene plastic, however, is in product packaging. Polyethylene has a very low density, which can help manufacturers save money when shipping large quantities of products. Shipping rates are often calculated based on the total weight of the items. Using a packaging material with a low density allows the manufacturer to slightly reduce the weight of each item, leading to larger savings overall. Polyethylene is often further separated into distinct classes based on the density and weight of the plastic. Polyethylene with a slightly higher density is generally used to package items that may require slightly more protection, including food items or cleaning products. The chemical makeup of polyethylene not only affects the material’s durability but also its overall look and design. Polyethylene packaging can range from semi-opaque to translucent, depending on the thermal history and the desire of the manufacturer. Polyethylene sees many applications in product packaging and is often used to create polyethylene terephthalate, or PET plastic packaging.
Polypropylene is perhaps one of the most versatile materials for product packaging. Like polyethylene, polypropylene has a very low density and is therefore very lightweight. Because of its lightweight nature, polypropylene is also very flexible and can easily be used to package products of all shapes and sizes. Despite being so lightweight and flexible, however, polypropylene is also incredibly durable. Polypropylene plastic is in fact so durable that it can be bent repeatedly in the same location many times without cracking or breaking. This high resistance to fatigue makes it ideal for the construction of folded plastic cartons and boxes for product packaging. Polypropylene packaging also has a translucent nature, though it is more frequently used when a frosted or slightly opaque effect is desired. Colored or otherwise tinted polypropylene is also popular and can add a vibrant effect to any product packaging. This opens up many doors for manufacturers when designing their product packaging.
At Printex Transparent Packaging, we offer a wide selection of both polyethylene and polypropylene packaging options in the form of clear PVC boxes to ensure that your product packaging design hits the mark every time.