Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is a thermoplastic made from the monomer ethylene. LDPE is defined by a density range of 0.910–0.940 g/cm3. It is not reactive at room temperatures, except by strong oxidizing agents, and some solvents cause swelling. It can withstand temperatures of 80 °C continuously and 95 °C for a short time. Made in translucent or opaque variations, it is quite flexible, and tough.
LDPE is widely used for manufacturing various containers, dispensing bottles, wash bottles, tubing, plastic bags for computer components, and various molded laboratory equipment. Its most common use is in plastic bags. Other products made from it include:
• Trays and general purpose containers
• Corrosion-resistant work surfaces
• Parts that need to be weldable and machinable
• Parts that require flexibility, for which it serves very well
• Very soft and pliable parts such as snap-on lids
• Six pack rings
• Juice and milk cartons are made of liquid packaging board, a laminate of paperboard and LDPE (as the waterproof inner and outer layer), and often with of a layer of aluminum foil (thus becoming aseptic packaging).
• Packaging for computer hardware, such as hard disk drives, screen cards, and optical disc drives
• Playground slides
• Plastic wraps