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Diverse uses for polyethylene include cold water pipes, vapour barriers in buildings, insulation, flexible foam, artificial hip joints, and household items such as laundry baskets and water buckets.

Because polyethylene is non-toxic, it is used in squeeze bottles for condiments, as food wrap, and as a base component of chewing gum. Over the years, other grades of polyethylene have been discovered and put to use. Linear low-density polyethylene shows up in "new and improved" garbage bags while cross-linked polyethylene is widely used as power cable insulation.

Although the raw material for polyethylene comes from coal, a non-renewable resource, polyethylene is environmentally friendly since polyethylene products are durable and recyclable.