PE (polyethylene) is the most frequently used plastic in the world. Its annual production exceeds 90 million tons. It was developed in 1933. This invention was essential for the development of modern plastic materials, which we cannot imagine our life without anymore. From the chemical point of view, the polyethylene structure is very simple, therefore it can be produced relatively in an easy and inexpensive way. According to its density, polyethylene is classified into two major types, so-called low-density (LDPE) and high-density (HDPE), the third type is the so-called linear low-density PE (LLDPE).
Both PE types can be processed easily using plastic-processing technologies, and manufacture products of various shapes and sizes from them. In general, polyethylene has an excellent strength, high toughness, and ductility; products may be transparent or coloured with pigments. The common PE processing method is extrusion (2D products) and injection moulding (3D products).
The best-known polyethylene applications include:
flexible packages – bags for fresh and frozen food products, shopping bags, extensible foils,
solid packages – bottles for detergents and cosmetics, cans, barrels, large-size containers,
daily need products – minor kitchen dishes,
tubes and pipe.
Polyethylene may be recycled. It is widely present in the communal waste, therefore there are efforts to sort it (yellow container for sorted waste) and reuse.