Due to its flexibility and other properties LDPE is used predominantly to manufacture films such as garment and produce bags, agricultural films, refuse sacks, and packaging films, foams and bubble wrap. Other uses include flexible lids, flexible bottles, wire and cable applications, some bottle tops, and irrigation pipes.
The excellent chemical resistance of HDPE makes it ideal for packaging household and industrial chemicals, such as detergents, bleach and acids. Its moderate stretch and high strength characteristics make it especially suitable for grocery bags, as found in most supermarkets. Other common uses include film, especially snack food packages and cereal box liners, milk and non-carbonated drinks bottles, margarine tubs, toys, buckets, rigid pipes, crates, plastic lumber, garden furniture, flower pots, and signs. As HDPE is permeable to gas it is not suitable for applications requiring an oxygen or CO2 barrier.
PP is found in everything from flexible and rigid packaging to fibres for fabrics and carpets and large moulded parts for automotive and consumer products, such as automobile battery casings. Most bottle tops are made from PP. Other common uses include ketchup and pancake syrup bottles, yoghurt and margarine containers, potato crisp bags, drinking straws, hinged lunch boxes, refrigerated containers, medicine bottles, crates, plant pots, and heavy gauge woven bags or tarps.
Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.