Everywhere you go these days, it’s pretty hard to avoid plastic. It houses the water most of us drink, it’s in the clothes we wear, it’s in so many of the household appliances we buy. It’s everywhere. In fact, it’s estimated that in all of human existence, there has been nine billion tons of plastic produced.
Plastic is used in all types of manufacturing and there are seven common types of plastic that are produced:
- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
- Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
- Polypropylene (PP)
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
- Polystyrene or Styrofoam (PS)
- Miscellaneous plastics such as styrene, nylon and fiberglass
Here’s what each of them are used for:
- PET: This is used to make plastic bottles, rope, carpet and textiles. This is the most common type of plastic and is commonly known as polyester. In fact, annual production of PE is around 80 million tons.
- HPDE: This type of plastic is used to make things like milk jugs, detergent containers and motor oil containers.
- PVC: This is usually used in piping, for window frames and in plumbing.
- LDPE: This is can be found in container lids, frozen food bags, sandwich bags and squeeze bottles.
- PP: These are found in things such as take-out containers, disposable dishware and prescription bottles.
- PS: This is found in packing foam, packing peanuts and plastic food boxes.
- Miscellaneous: This can be found in eye glasses, lighting fixture and baby bottles among other things.
There’s no denying that plastic plays an important role in everyday life. In many sectors, plastic makes things easier, safer and more efficient. Little wonder than that manufacturers are in constant need of plastic from an industrial plastic distributor. Many plastics are recyclable, meaning that many an industrial plastic distributor is selling a product that is eco-friendly in many ways.
Of course, there’s no denying that plastic is a significant source of pollution and not all of it is biodegradable.
With that in mind, here are a look at some pros and cons of plastics:
- Plastics allow for things to be safer and more economical.
- Many plastics sold by the average industrial plastic distributor or plastic distribution services can be recycled, as compared to other materials.
- Plastics are often more cost effective.
- Plastics actually take up less volume and space than other materials, especially in landfills.
- When burned, many plastics don’t give off toxic fumes, which in some ways makes them eco-friendly.
- Plastics can actually be burned and used for energy.
- Plastic packaging helps save on transport costs and also helps cut down on emissions since lighter loads are being transported.
- Plastics technology is still developing, which means we may see more sustainable and eco-friendly plastics in the near future.
- For uses like in automobiles, plastics make cars more fuel efficient and lighter overall.
- The use of plastics and the sale of plastics from an industrial plastic distributor helps save on the Earth’s natural resources such as cotton and wood.
- Plastic helps promote good hygiene and food safety (when it’s used in food and medical fields).
- Plastic is a big culprit when it comes to pollution, especially near beaches, rivers, and oceans.
- It is very easy for animals to become tangled in and ingest plastics. Animals can even be injured due to plastic.
- It is also very easy for humans to ingest plastic, especially bits of micro plastics.
- PVC contains plastic that is potentially toxic for both humans and the environment. It should be noted that no other type of plastic has the potential to release dangerous chemicals.
- The manufacture of some plastics requires the use of other resources such as petroleum.
- While most plastics can be recycled, they can only be recycled and reused so many times before polymers and plastic fibers break down.
- Some of the chemicals used to make plastic or to give it flexibility or rigidity can be potentially toxic.
- While plastic can be recycled, not all of it is biodegradable and the plastic that isn’t takes many years to break down in landfills.
Plastics play an important role in many aspects of everyday life, but their continued use has many pros and cons for humans and the environment. With continued research and development, plastics will continue to play an important role in the future and will likely become more eco-friendly and bio-degradable, giving polymer distributors and raw plastic distributors better products to sell.