HDPE is a petroleum-based thermoplastic. Highly impact resistant and chemical resistant. HDPE comes in a variety of grades for many uses. HDPE is a versatile engineered plastic that is used to build everything from cutting boards for food service, outdoor playground equipment, to milk jugs. Easy to clean and can readily be used in outdoor and indoor components. Contact Traco to discuss your HDPE project!

Acetal plastic part made by Traco Manufacturing.
Fast Facts
Wide range of uses
BPA Free
Highly Recyclable

HDPE Facts, Specifications, Grades, and More

What does HDPE stand for?

High-Density Polyethylene

Can HDPE be used to make furniture?

Yes, it’s an excellent material for furniture. Given its high impact resistance and chemical resistant nature, it will make an excellent choice for your outdoor furniture project. It is resistant to fading, moisture, warping, splintering and many other elements of the outdoors.

How strong is HDPE?

Depending on the grade and thickness, it can be both strong and impact-resistant plastic. It has a high strength to density ratio. Grades such as HDPE Pipe Grade are even stronger.

How is HDPE recycled?

HDPE is a commonly recycled plastic. At Traco, we take pride in our green initiatives and seek to reduce waste and recycle the plastic waste that comes from our manufacturing. See our blog on how we reduce waste and save our customers money.

When it comes to recycled HDPE, reprocessed or recycled is actually more stable than what is referred to as virgin (non-recycled) material. Recycled HDPE contains roughly 60% recycled material. Because of this, when cut into long sheets has far less lifting at the edges of the sheet. This is due to the fact that reprocessed (recycled) material contains less of a substance called a plasticizer.

Reprocessing into sheets has become even more interesting. Now during the extrusion process, you’ll find that the center of an HDPE sheet is made of recycled material and the outside pieces are composed of the virgin material. Again with less of the plasticizer overall. The result of which is a nice, uniform sheet of HDPE with flat edges all the way around. Learn more about Traco’s recycling efforts in our blog post here.

Is HDPE FDA compliant?

Cutting board grade HDPE is FDA compliant.

Is HDPE UV resistant?

Yes, HDPE does come in UV-resistant form. This is known as UV stabilized HDPE and it is resistant to water as well. This grade is often used for playground equipment and marine construction components.

Is HDPE an antimicrobial plastic?

There are two forms of antimicrobial HDPE. King Medigrade HDPE sheets and Simogard Antimicrobial Additives.

King Medigrade uses a proprietary additive during the extrusion process resulting in HDPE sheets that are resistant to fungi, algae, as well as stain and odor-causing bacteria. Because it is added during the early stages of production, the antimicrobial properties will last for the lifetime of your product. This grade of HDPE is an excellent option for use in medical facilities and hospitals.

Simogard Antimicrobial Additives is another great option for antimicrobial HDPE. Sold as an upgrade to many of their HDPE materials, it can be added to their cutting board grade HDPE and even their playground board HDPE.

Does HDPE do well in the elements outdoors?

Certain grades of HDPE do well outdoors such as UV stabilized grade HDPE and HDPE pipe grade sheets.

What are the colors available in HDPE sheets?

HDPE comes in a wide variety of colors including: natural, black, red, yellow, green, beige, blue, polar white, mercury gray, seafoam, sand shade, whitewash, teak, weatherwood, mahogany, sunshade, dolphin gray, white/white. Engravable HDPE comes in a variety of colors as well including: blue/white/blue, white/red/white, black/white/black, white/black/white, beige/green/beige, blue/yellow/blue, and more.

We are able to provide HDPE in custom colors to fit your brand colors.

What are the most common brands of HDPE?


What is HDPE pipe?

HDPE pipe grade is a type of HDPE that performs well in outdoor settings. It is resistant to both UV rays and chemicals. This grade of HDPE can be used to line the inside of metal tanks that transport chemicals. This is a very heavy-duty HDPE that can even be fusion welded to other pieces of HDPE pipe.

For example, in the vicinity around Traco manufacturing, there are actually a number of working farms. These farmers use HDPE pipelining on the inside of their spray trucks. At times, they’ve had instances where a crack will form in the lining of their tanks. We have been known to weld patches for them so that they can continue the use of their spray tanks.

Is HDPE food grade?

Cutting board grade HDPE is FDA approved for use in the food industry. Chemical resistant and easy to clean. This grade of HDPE is able to resist heat. For use in direct or indirect food contact, contact Traco today about our industrial use cutting boards for your restaurant!

Is HDPE BPA free?

Yes, HDPE is BPA-free.

Is HDPE toxic?

No, this material is non-toxic.

Is HDPE dangerous?

Absolutely not.

Where can you buy HDPE sheets?

Contact Traco to get started on your next HDPE project today!

Can you paint HDPE?

No, paints are unable to adhere to the surface of HDPE. This is great for outdoor furniture. Graffiti will not ruin your HDPE product!

What kind of glue can you use on HDPE?

In our experience here at Traco, we have never found an adhesive that will repair or hold to HDPE. This is a problem, especially for chemical tanks that are lined with HDPE. If the contents inside of the tank are flammable, with no adhesive available that will seal HDPE, they must purchase a new tank. It is impossible to weld on a tank that holds flammable material.

How is HDPE made?

HDPE is made through a process called extrusion. HDPE pellets are added to the machine and heated to temperatures between 350 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The resulting molten HDPE is then formed into sheets, rods, or tubing and run through long rollers all while cooling the finished product.

What temperature does HDPE melt at?

The melting point of HDPE is roughly 260 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is the difference between HDPE and LDPE?

HDPE has a rigid surface whereas LDPE is more malleable. We’ve discussed above at length the uses for HDPE. LDPE is mainly used to build orthopedics and prosthetics for use in the medical industry. LDPE provides a more flexible application. They can get this flexibility while still maintaining chemical resistance by using LDPE.

How to clean HDPE?

HDPE is easy to clean and is very chemically resistant.

What is engravable HDPE?

You may have seen at the top where we mention color varieties in “engravable HDPE.” If you’ll notice HDPE sheets can come with a different color in the center than on the outside for example a sheet can be ordered in blue/white/blue. Because the center of the sheet is a different color than the outside when you engrave words or a logo onto the sheet. The different colored center will be revealed.

What is HDPE used for?

  • It’s the plastic of choice for a variety of projects!
  • Used in the lining of many chemical tanks
  • Outdoor playground equipment
  • Cutting board in the foodservice industry
  • Water pipes
  • Kids toys (it’s BPA free)
  • It’s possible that even your shampoo bottle is made of HDPE!
Plastics machining taking place on a CNC router at Traco Manufacturing.

Specs and Data

Attribute Value
Friction Rating
Impact Rating
Machining Speed
Difficulty to Machine

Strengths and Benefits

  • High impact resistance

  • Comes in antimicrobial grade and FDA approved cutting-board grade

  • UV stabilized grade is UV resistant. Because of this it’s great for outdoor uses like furniture.


  • Surface not suitable for painting

  • No adhesives will hold or adhere to the surface


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