Plastics complements our lives
Plastics complements our lives. Plastic products are, for example, used in the food industry, in construction and medicine and even in decoration and art. Such a product is, among others, polyethylene. Polyethylene (PE) is one of the most widely used plastic materials in the world with an annual production of about 80 million tons. PE has a wide range of applications in different industries, segments of business and life and countless everyday items.
Polyethylene is most widely used in the manufacture of packaging films for food, pharmaceuticals, textile and other products (from simple plastic bags to so called shrink-wrap foils which, under the use of heat, shrink and conform to whatever item is underneath). Polyethylene is also used in the manufacture of various household boxes and containers, bags, large industrial containers, inner liners for shipping and cargo vessels, water-supply and other pipes, for wire and cable coating and electric insulation, for the impregnation of textile fibres and paper, as polyethylene fibres etc.
We use polyethylene to pack food and extend its expiration date. Through polyethylene pipes drinking water reaches all segments of the population. Polyethylene implants are used in artificial hips and knees and in the manufacture of tubes for laboratories and hospitals. Polyethylene is used for anti-scratch car coating.
But regardless of its wide range of useful applications, plastics have a reputation of something less valuable and of low quality, but accessible and affordable. Adjectives such as nice, interesting, of high-quality or valuable are today rarely associated with plastics. The real problem with plastics is, however, not its purpose or disposability, but rather our irresponsibility and poor handling of used plastic items.