Ethylene (C2H4) is not harmful to water or soil and it is not toxic to humans and animals. Ethylene is transported in the pipeline as fluid, or in an intermediate state between gas and liquid.
Ethylene is commercially produced by steam cracking of hydrocarbons. In Europe and Asia, ethylene is primarily produced based on naphtha or diesel, whereas in the United States, Canada and the Middle East it is also produced from ethene, propane and liquefied petroleum gas.
Ethylene is an important raw material for the chemical industry and feedstock for 30 percent of all petrochemicals. Ethylene is used for the production of many plastics, including polyethylene (PE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), PET, cellulose acetate and polyvinyl acetate polymer. The resulting products are indispensable in daily life: insulating material, detergents and detergent bottles, packaging materials, films, insulation of cables, window frames, floor coverings, household goods, vehicle fittings, cabinets, detergents as well as tools and raw materials for pharmaceutical preparations are just a few examples.
Ethylene (ethene) is also produced in nature (plants, etc.), for example by fruits and vegetables. Many ripening fruits emit a crucial plant hormone that is gaseous and called – ethylene (also known as ethene). This hormone controls the ripening process of many fruits and vegetables – which is why you should avoid storing bananas and ripe apples together in a fruit bowl: In no time at all, the apples will make the bananas turn brown and blotchy.