HDPE Bags Explained: Common Applications & Cleanroom Uses

HDPE plastic bags are made from one of the most popular types of plastic – polyethylene. HDPE packaging is available in different forms, including bags, containers, carboys, and it’s even common in some cleanroom applications. HDPE is often recycled under the number “2.”

HDPE stands for “high-density polyethylene,” and it’s frequently used for its strength-to-density ratio. Unlike its low-density (LDPE) counterpart, high-density material features stronger intermolecular forces and more tensile strength. Still, most physical properties of HDPE depend on the molding process used to produce a particular sample.

Polyethylene plastic bags are available in various density levels suitable for different purposes. In this article, we’ll go through the essence of high-density polyethylene packaging, its benefits, the most common uses, as well as the most frequent industrial and cleanroom applications.

Pristine Clean Bags®: Most Dependable HDPE Bags for Cleanroom

Pristine Clean Bags® is a leading cleanroom packaging supplier for your unique industry needs and requirements. During  40 years in business, we have delivered the highest-quality HDPE cleanroom bags to the pharmaceutical, medical, electronic, and aerospace industries.

Our virgin, ISO-certified cleanroom supplies are free from sources of animal origin or any potentially harmful substances that could affect your product’s quality. Instead, they maintain the highest levels of conformance and traceability. We can create custom HDPE bags depending on your specific cleanroom requirement and business goals.

What is HDPE?

HDPE is made from polyethylene – a type of plastic formed by the polymerization of ethylene gas. Polyethylene is used in plastic bags, bottles, and even industrial components. It comes in various density levels suitable for different uses – low density (LDPE), linear-low density (LLDPE), and high density (HDPE).

Due to the minimal number of branches of chains resulting from the polymerization process, HDPE is much denser than its counterparts. It features densely packed and bonded molecules, which make HDPE rigid, robust, and durable. For that reason, HDPE is broadly used in making toys, cans, pipes, and tubing.

All types of polyethylene are used to make poly bags for various industrial and cleanroom applications. Therefore, you can find custom LDPE, LLDPE, and HDPE bags ranging from light to heavy gauges. While low-density bags are often used to create flat and gusseted poly bags for packaging food, HDPE is a more appropriate solution for packaging bulkier materials, including food grains, fertilizers, cement, minerals, and similar. In order to be used in the food industry, all poly bags must be FDA-compliant.

HDPE vs. LDPE Bags

While they have lots in common, HDPE and LDPE have very different molecular structures, which impacts the way they’re used. Furthermore, they have distinct physical characteristics and recycling methods.

  • Chemical structure: High-density polyethylene has less branching, unlike low-density structure. For that reason, HDPE is more robust and more durable than LDPE, which is pliable, softer, and more prone to cracks.
  • Heat resistance: HDPE has a much higher temperature resistance than LDPE, which can withstand more extreme temperatures. Additionally, HDPE has a higher melting point, up to 275°F.
  • Recycling: Both LDPE and HDPE materials are recyclable, but they should never be recycled together for various reasons. Besides carrying different recycling numbers, LDPE is more difficult to recycle than HDPE. Due to its soft structure, LDPE often gets caught in the machinery while HDPE runs smoothly through the recycling equipment.
  • Applications: Each polyethylene has unique features and benefits that make them ideal for different applications. For instance, LDPE is widely used in packing computer components, while HDPE is a go-to choice for storing more robust items, including groceries and objects used in retail.

Although HDPE and LDPE have many differences, they share some features that make them perfect for various industrial and cleanroom applications. Besides being made from polyethylene, LDPE and HDPE share the following characteristics:

  • Lightweight structure
  • 20 – 0.40 N/mm2 tensile strength
  • High-impact resilience
  • Water vapor and weather resistance
  • Recyclability
  • Low-cost

Industries Using Both LDPE and HDPE Poly Bags

LDPE and HDPE, in the forms of both materials and bags, are a staple in various industries, including but not limited to:

  • Medical and pharmaceutical equipment: Any process involving medical and pharmaceutical device manufacturing and transportation requires an HDPE bag for medical waste containers and plastic bottles for lab purposes. On the other hand, low-density poly bags are useful for conducting various medical/pharmaceutical industry cleanroom applications.
  • Packaging: The packaging industry uses high-density materials for producing plastic packaging, bottles, and chemical containers, while LDPE is convenient when heat sealing is required.
  • Life sciences: The life science industry uses both LDPE and HDPE bags for its virgin and surfactant-free materials, which successfully prevent product contamination.

Advantages of HDPE Bags

Thanks to its rich features, HDPE poly bags help various industries accomplish their goals by providing the best product quality. For instance:

Excellent Temperature Resistance

HDPE has a much higher temperature resistance than LDPE or LLDPE bags. For that reason, it allows molded components to be packed hot off the press, without the risk of holes or melting through the packaging. The HDPE’s softening point ranges from 210-220°F. Besides, HDPE is suitable for extremely cold temperatures, as its embrittlement temperature is about minus 180°F. For that reason, HDPE is convenient for freezer applications and similar uses.

No Additives

While LDPE and LLDPE must contain slips agents and anti-block additives to prevent the bags from sticking together, HDPE is free from any additive. Because of that, it’s an ideal choice for packaging items that could be affected by contact to anti-block or slip.

Non-Scratch Characteristics

HDPE packaging bags are perfect for packaging optical lenses, mainly due to their additive-free structure. Namely, the anti-block additive in LDPE or LLDPE bags may cause scratches on optical surfaces, affecting the device’s overall quality and function.

Stiff & Strong Structure

HDPE is much denser than LDPE or LLDPE resins, which results in stiffer and more robust material. This is beneficial for many applications as it allows for thinner poly bag manufacturing, which significantly saves costs.

Great Moisture-Retention Properties

High-density packaging is perfect for various applications that require keeping the moisture from entering the packaging or holding the water inside it.

Other exceptional advantages worth mentioning include lightweight design, great strength, impact resistance, durability, mold and mildew resistance, and malleability.

Who Shouldn’t Use HDPE Bags?

While high-density polyethylene bags have many benefits, they might not be suitable for every use as some of the following characteristics may not meet your specific needs.


There is no such thing as HDPE clear plastic bags. Unlike low-density poly bags, characterized by the utmost clarity, HDPE is cloudy, almost frosty. For instance, it’s not the best choice for retail uses where the item is sold outside the box. However, it’s a preferred solution for T-shirt bag style applications.

Enhanced Notch Sensitivity

Notched HDPE bags are easy to tear in the direction where the film was extruded. While this can be a huge drawback, some customers may find it convenient as it allows users to open the bag and access its content pretty easily.

HDPE Poly Bags: Cleanroom Uses & Applications

HDPE has plenty of industrial applications thanks to its cost-efficiency, durability, and great strength. In addition, HDPE bags play a vital role in cleanrooms, especially since they offer excellent protection from contaminants and airborne particles that could damage the product manufactured inside the cleanroom. Thanks to its durability and strength, HDPE creates a barrier against chemical leakage and contamination.

You can count on Pristine Clean Bags® to get the most dependable, ISO Class 5 certified HDPE cleanroom bags for your unique goals and requirements. Our HDPE bags are made from barefoot resin, virgin materials and are completely additive-free. Being produced in an ISO Class 5 cleanroom environment, Pristine HDPE bags deliver the utmost protection from contaminants while offering puncture and temperature resistance, moisture-barrier properties, and tensile strength.

Pristine high-density polyethylene packaging is ISO-certified and FDA-approved, and you can use it for various applications, including medical and pharmaceutical device manufacturing, scientific purposes, food and drink packaging, cosmetic products, and similar processes requiring a specific level of cleanliness. We regularly test our cleanroom packaging supplies for potential defects and fix them on time to prevent any damage to your products.

high density plastic bags

Pristine HDPE packaging supplies are certified clean to IEST-STD 1246D and are compliant with all standards and regulations set by notable institutions in this industry. Elements like Bisphenol A, natural rubber, natural latex, Fluorotelomers, Phthalates, Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFC), Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC), or materials of animal origin are not intentionally added to any of our packaging supplies.

Please consult the chart below to see the test results performed on 1mil thick film:

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Property Nominal Value Test Method
Density 0.947 g/cm3 ASTM D792
Melt Index .28g/10min ASTM D1238
Film Toughness MD 2220 ft-lb/in3
TD 2290 ft-lb/in3
Tensile Strength MD Yield 3500 psi
TD Yield 3700 psi
MD Break 7900psi
TD Break 5700psi
Tensile Elongation MD Break 600%
TD Break 700%
Dart Drop Impact 100g ASTM 1709A
Elmendorf Tear Strength MD 28g
TD 530g
ASTM 1922

Pristine Clean Bags®: Custom HDPE Bags for Your Specific Needs

Pristine Clean Bags® has a long-standing experience serving various industries and crafting custom-tailored solutions for our clients’ cleanroom requirements. Our HDPE poly bags are convenient for medical devices, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, optical devices, life sciences, and similar items prone to damage resulting from contaminants and aerosol particles.

Our HDPE packaging supplies are ISO-certified and FDA-approved, offering the blend of matchless quality, stellar customer service, and always on-time delivery. Besides, we give you a unique opportunity to enjoy a special HDPE bags price, which is 30% below the markets across the USA and Europe.