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Thread: HDPE= Biodegradable? I Hope Not!

  1. #1
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    Default HDPE= Biodegradable? I Hope Not!

    I have been getting some HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) Containers from a friend in the food business. They are used to hold about 4 gallons of canola oil for the fryers. Are these made of biodegradable plastic? They are labelled Type "2" plastic. I was hoping to use them for water, but if they are biodegradable, I guess I will just have to fill them with water, and see what the M14 does to them. Any other use for them?

  2. #2
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    No-one have any ideas? I googled it to no avail...

  3. #3
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    I don't think they are biodegradable, but they are recyclable. HDPE is the standard plastic used in food grade containers. If they biodegrade with any rapidity, we are all in trouble.

  4. #4
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    HDPE is fairly tough stuff. It doesn't immediately biodegrade, and is fairly chemical-resistant. Your only sources of concern would (IMO) be:

    1. HDPE, like any other plastic IS sensitive to long-term exposure to UV. It will become brittle, and eventually spring little leaks, which will then become larger ones, eventually netting you something that holds water about as well as a pair of pantyhose.

    2. If they are produced to hold the oil for fryers, then did they originally come in cardboard boxes? If so, the sidewall dimensions are such that any (relatively small) amount of impact to the side WILL produce a rip or tear. If you are getting these for a good price, then they make excellent storage options, but I would try to keep the boxes with them if at all possible. The longevity of the plastic containers by themselves is suspect at best, and trying to stack them (sans boxes) in any meaningful way may very well net you quite a large amount of water in your floor.

    If these plastic containers never came in boxes, then the sidewalls have been drop-tested with a container full of water and found to be safe, thus making my earlier comments irrelevant.

  5. #5
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    I don't know if they came in boxes. I'll ask. the price is right as well, FREE! I could always do a drop test on one myself, Ive got about a dozen now, and more coming.

  6. #6
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    Ghost, fill one up to the top, seal it, and drop it from 3 to 5 feet in the air. Also, you may want to try filling 3-5 of them up and stacking them, as the worst time to have a failure is when you actually need them.

    If the sides of this container is softer than the side of a plastic, red, 5-gallon gasoline canister, then it is made to be supported by another material. (As a side note, those 5-gallon gas cans are also made out of HDPE, and have to pass drop-tests with water in them.)

    Better to test them, and know their failure points now, rather than when you need them.

    Also keep in mind that HDPE has a very low tolerance for flexing, and any areas which have been bent before will most likely be the areas which develop leaks first.

  7. #7
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    I was going to put them on some shelving units, not stacked, just beside each other, and fill the shelves. The shelves are rated to 200 lbs each, so I can put at least 4 of them on each shelf.

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