4 things you need to look for when buying HDPE post-consumer bottles

HDPE plastic (high density polyethylene)is one of the most commonly recycled and widely used varieties of plastic scrap. For plastic scrap buyers, #2 HDPE is one of the mainstays of the plastic recycling trade.

If you are in the market for buying HDPE scrap plastic, one of the most common sources is post-consumer HDPE bottles. These bottles can include detergent bottles, milk jugs or other opaque plastics. The most common sources for HDPE post-consumer bottles include municipal recycling programs and waste haulers, but there can be a wide range in terms of quality and consistency of the HDPE materials.

Here are a few simple pointers that you can use to ensure a more efficient and profitable transaction the next time you buy #2 HDPE post-consumer scrap plastic bottles:

  • HDPE natural or colored bottles? HDPE natural plastic tends to command a higher price because it is easier to use in multiple recycled plastic products. Colored material tends to be more difficult to sort, process and recycle, so if the HDPE bottles are colored they should typically command a lower price.
  • Mixed bales or segregated by color? HDPE post-consumer bottles that are already pre-sorted into single-color bales command the highest price because they are easier to process. However, mixed bale HDPE is also a good option for scrap plastic buyers that have sophisticated sorting equipment to categorize the scrap plastic into the necessary allotments based on color.
  • Are you getting the ideal scrap plastic bale sizes and load weights? Make sure that the HDPE scrap plastic material is pre-weighed and offers consistent bale sizes. As we discussed in our blog post on what to look for when buying mixed plastic scrap bales, each bale should weigh between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds, for a total per-truck load weight of up to 40,000 pounds.
  • What is the condition of the material? Find out if the HDPE plastic bottles have already been washed. Most post-consumer scrap plastic dealers will provide washed, uncontaminated materials, but if not, be prepared to negotiate a price discount. Also find out how the HDPE plastic bales have been stored. If the scrap plastic has been stored indoors, there will likely be less chance of debris or moisture inside the scrap plastic bales. cheap accommodation If the scrap plastic is stored outside, there is a risk that the bottles contain dirt, debris and moisture trapped inside, thus artificially boosting the bale weight and reducing the actual amount of scrap plastic in the total bale that you’re paying for.

As with any other large-volume business transaction that is time-sensitive and depends heavily on quality and consistency of the commodities, buying HDPE scrap plastic is more efficient and profitable when you have trusting relationships with your trading partners. It’s always best to start small if you are working with an HDPE supplier for the first time. Don’t over-commit to a long-term deal until you’re confident that your HDPE scrap plastic supplier can deliver the consistency of volume (and quality of material) that you need.