Nampak Plastics' HDPE packaging
HDPE is the result of 'cracking', a process where intense heat is applied to petroleum to produce ethylene gas under controlled conditions. The gas molecules produced then link together to form long chains of polyethylene—a substance similar in appearance to liquid porridge. A constant stream of this material is then forced through holes to form strings, which are then cut to form polyethylene granules. The conditions of this process determine whether the polyethylene produced is High Density (HDPE) or Low Density (LDPE).
Currently, approximately 4% of petroleum is used for plastic production.
for more information on HDPE and its environmental credentials.