Given the number of choices available, choosing the right plastic bag can be a somewhat tricky task. That’s mainly because plastic bags are made from different materials and each of these materials offers users specific characteristics. They also come in various mixed shapes and colors.
There are so many versions of plastic bags out there, however, by familiarizing yourself with each type, you can certainly narrow down your choices a great deal and choose the right bag for your needs. So, let’s dive in and take a look at the different types of plastic bags available on the market today:
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
One of the most common plastics used around the world, HDPE features a variety of qualities, which makes it an excellent material for manufacturing plastic bags. It’s lightweight, relatively transparent, water and temperature resistant, and has high tensile strength.
Apart from that, HDPE plastic bags meet the USDA and FDA food handling guidelines, thus making them a popular choice for both storing and serving food in take-out and retail.
HDPE plastic bags can be found in restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores, delis and even in homes for storing and packaging purposes. HDPE is also used for garbage bags, utility bags, T-shirt bags, and laundry bags, among others.
Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
This type of plastic is commonly used for utility bags, food bags, bread bags as well as bags with moderate strength and stretch properties. Though LDPE is not as strong as HDPE bags, they are capable of storing bulk items, specifically food and meat products.
Moreover, the clear plastic makes it easy to identify the contents, allowing restaurateurs to keep up in the fast-paced setting of commercial kitchens.
That said, LDPE plastic bags are highly versatile and are popular for use with heat-sealing due to their low melting point. LDPE also meets the USDA and FDA food handling guidelines and also is also sometimes used to make bubble wrap.
Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE)
The main difference between LDPE and LLDPE plastic bags is that the latter has a slightly thinner gauge. However, the best thing about this plastic is there is no difference in strength, which allows users to save money without any compromise on quality.
LLDPE bags exhibit a moderate degree of clarity and are used for the manufacturing of food bags, newspaper bags, shopping bags as well as garbage bags. They can also be used for food storage in freezers and refrigerators, due to which they are used for the storage of bulk food items in commercial kitchens.
Medium Density Polyethylene (MDPE)
MDPE is comparatively clearer than HDPE, but not as clear as low-density polyethylene. Bags that are made of MDPE are not associated with a high degree of strength, and neither do they stretch well, thus are not preferred for the carrying or storing of bulk products.
However, MDPE is a common material for garbage bags and is generally used in consumer packaging for paper products such as toiler paper or paper towels.
PP bags are characterized by their remarkable chemical strength and resistance. Unlike other bags, polypropylene bags are not breathable and are ideal for retail situations due to their longer shelf life. PP is also used for food packaging, where items like candies, nuts, herbs and other confectionaries can be easily stored in bags made out of it.
These bags are comparatively clearer than others, allowing users enhanced visibility. PP bags are also great for heat-sealing due to their high melting point, and, like other plastic bags options, are USDA and FDA approved for food handling.