Differences between polypropylene and polyethylene packaging

Diferencias entre envases de polipropileno y polietileno

Polypropylene and polyethylene are two polymers in the world of plastics and the manufacture of single-use or reusable products.

As a raw material they are so versatile that they have an earned place over other materials in the restaurant, hotel and catering sector.

For this reason, there is a wide variety of plastic containers on the market, which have particular characteristics that will allow you to understand the differences between polyethylene and polypropylene.

If you are looking for the material that best suits your needs, read on and learn the tricks to differentiate polyethylene and polypropylene, their characteristics and main uses.

What are polypropylene and polyethylene?

┬┐Qu├ę son el polipropileno y el polietileno?

Polypropylene is a light and resistant plastic material, with a translucent white shade that can be easily coloured.

One of the most important characteristics of this material is its ability to withstand high temperatures, remaining unchanged up to 100┬░C.

In addition, polypropylene is resistant to abrasive acids , and is the main material used for the manufacture of adhesive tapes, plastic bags and other products such as safety foams.

On the other hand, polyethylene is one of the most economical and commonly used materials in the world.

It is resistant to low temperatures maintaining an ideal behaviour between -80┬░C and 80┬░C.

It is flexible, easy to stretch and resistant to wear and abrasion.

Basic characteristics of polyethylene

Caracter├şsticas b├ísicas del polietileno

Among the main characteristics of polyethylene we can mention

  • It is a material resistant to low temperatures.
  • Its low cost has made it one of the main components of packaging products.
  • It is elastic and flexible.
  • It is highly resistant to impact and wear.

Main features of polypropylene

Principales rasgos del polipropileno

Among the main features of polypropylene we have

  • It is a lightweight material.
  • Less flexible than polyethylene and more difficult to break.
  • It is an excellent insulator of electricity.

Shared characteristics between polypropylene and polyethylene

Caracter├şsticas compartidas entre el polipropileno y polietileno

Although polypropylene and polyethylene are different materials, they share some characteristics that are ideal for the production of plastic.

  • They are easy to colour and have different types of opacity, and are available in any colour.
  • Due to their stretching capacity they are widely used for packaging.
  • They are resistant to shocks, abrasion and contact with chemical agents.
  • They are highly versatile materials that can be used in various sectors such as household goods, DIY and toys.

Differences between polypropylene and polyethylene

Diferencias entre el polipropileno y polietileno

The differences between polypropylene and polyethylene are diverse, even if at first glance these plastic materials are similar.

Among the aspects that will allow you to know how to differentiate polyethylene and polypropylene we have

Colour and weight

Colour and weight are very important aspects in this type of material.

Polypropylene is a lighter translucent white element than polyethylene and although both are easy to colour, polyethylene is colourless

These aspects allow us to obtain characteristics that guarantee improvements in the area of packaging by achieving high levels of quality, in terms of difficulty of tearing and transparency.


Resistance is a fundamental aspect that indicates the appropriate conditions to which these plastic materials can be subjected.

  • Resistance to hightemperatures: polypropylene is capable of withstanding high temperatures, remaining in its ideal conditions between 140┬░C and 170┬░C.
  • Resistance to low temperatures: polyethylene is more resistant to low temperatures, remaining in its characteristics between -80┬░C and 80┬░C without any alteration.
  • Chemical resistance: in this section, polypropylene stands out for its great resistance to abrasive acids and wear


Flexibility determines the elasticity of the plastic material. In this aspect, polyethylene stands out as the most elastic material and with the least resistance when it needs to be stretched.

On the other hand, polypropylene, although it is less flexible, stands out between the two materials as it is the most resistant.


As far as recycling is concerned, this process is simple because they are thermoplastic products, which means that when they are subjected to heat processes they can be moulded repeatedly to give them a new use.

Due to their particular characteristics, the possibilities of recycling polyethylene are greater

Uses of polypropylene and polyethylene

Among the uses of polypropylene food containers and polyethylene plastic containers we can mention

In the food industry

Polypropylene is an ideal material for use in the microwave, due to its resistance to high temperatures. It is used in high hot-tack packaging, for packing rice or nuts and hot sealing of sauces.

Polypropylene food packaging is also used in sterilisation and pasteurisation.

Polyethylene plastic packaging in the food industry is used for heat treatment for pasteurisation.

Polypropylene and polyethylene in other industries

Polipropileno y polietileno en otras industrias

There are various uses for polyethylene plastic packaging and polypropylene packaging in the food sector, however, polypropylene and polyethylene can be used in other industries.

Here we will share the mostimportant uses of polypropylene and polyethylene:

  • In the manufacture of bags: polyethylene is the main ingredient used to make plastic bags used in shops, as well as rubbish bags for proper waste collection.
  • Products for insulation: polypropylene sheets are used to insulate interior parts in car doors and windows.
  • Adhesive tapes: polypropylene is used in the production of tapes due to its firmness.
  • Storage boxes: these are generally stackable boxes that are manufactured using polypropylene due to their strength.
  • Toys: polyethylene is the most used material in children’s toy factories, due to the properties of elasticity and resistance that this component can provide to the toys.
  • In the agricultural sector: due to the wide range of activities carried out in this sector, polypropylene and polyethylene are used in the development of greenhouses, hydrological insulation and geothermal blankets.

Although there are many differences between polypropylene and polyethylene, these materials have properties that allow us to carry out everyday activities, as well as implement actions that make life easier.

Buy polypropylene and polyethylene products

Comprar productos de polipropileno y polietileno

Since we know the main differences and characteristics between polypropylene and polyethylene, selecting the packaging material you will use in your business or personal life is much easier.

We invite you to visit our Monouso online shop, where you will find products made from these and other materials, ideal for offering you the quality and prices you are looking for for your business or home.

Glasses, cups, plates, trays, take away containers or cutlery are some of the products you will see at Monouso.

To make your shopping easier, we have created sections for each type of product, a way of organizing the information that will allow you to know where you are and move around, in a very intuitive way, looking for the products you need.

In addition, we offer the service of product customization, ideal for businesses that want to stand out with a unique image or companies dedicated to the organization of events and want to offer unforgettable elements to their customers.

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