Plastics’ demand and consumption is on the increase since 1950s due to their unique properties. Their high use coupled with challenges in end-of-use handling and their inherent resistance to degradation has led to their accumulation in the environment, which is a matter of grave concern. This review presents a general overview of the state of knowledge of the diverse faces of plastics with special reference to polyethylene. This includes an outline of the polyethylene blends and grades put into most use, disposal methods, polyethylene degradation and its effects on the environment. The Current state of knowledge suggests that future trends and policies should be directed towards increased efforts to recycling and minimizing the introduction of virgin materials into the cycle.
Keywords: Polyethylene, degradation, polymers, plastics, environment.