Polyethylene or polythene (IUPAC name polyethene or poly(methylene)) is the most widely used plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

, with an annual production of approximately 80 million metric tons. Its primary use is within packaging (plastic bag
Plastic bag
A plastic bag, polybag, or pouch is a type of packaging made of thin, flexible, plastic film, nonwoven fabric, or plastic textile. Plastic bags are used for containing and transporting goods such as foods, produce, powders, ice, magazines, comic books, chemicals and waste.Most plastic bags are...

, plastic films, geomembranes
Geomembranes are a kind of geosynthetic material made up of an impermeable membranes. Their use includes lining canals, ponds and also waste containment.-Composition:Geomembranes are made of various materials...

, etc.).
Polyethylene is a thermoplastic
Thermoplastic, also known as a thermosoftening plastic, is a polymer that turns to a liquid when heated and freezes to a very glassy state when cooled sufficiently...

A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

 consisting of long chains produced by combining the ingredient monomer
A monomer is an atom or a small molecule that may bind chemically to other monomers to form a polymer; the term "monomeric protein" may also be used to describe one of the proteins making up a multiprotein complex...

Ethylene is a gaseous organic compound with the formula . It is the simplest alkene . Because it contains a carbon-carbon double bond, ethylene is classified as an unsaturated hydrocarbon. Ethylene is widely used in industry and is also a plant hormone...

 (IUPAC name ethene), the name comes from the ingredient and not the actual chemical resulting.