Plastics are a valuable resource that
make our lives easier, more sustainable,
You may not realize just how important plastics are in your daily life. It coats the time release capsules we need for medication and they are an important component in medical masks and gloves. It creates playground equipment, cars and exercise clothing. We rely on plastics for many modern products, and when we responsibly manage this valuable resource, it can create a positive impact for sustainability.
Plastics Reduce Waste and Increase Health and Safety
Energy Conservation and Sustainability
Avoiding the depletion of natural resources, reducing emissions, and investing in cleaner technologies —when we consider the true meaning of sustainability, plastics fit the bill. Plastics contribute to sustainability by facilitating the creation of lighter, more durable products such as electric vehicles and renewable energy infrastructure. Plastics require less fuel to create and ship, reducing their carbon footprint and ensuring packaging for other products is lighter and more sustainable than alternatives.
Would you purchase raw meat from your butcher without the protective plastic wrap? How long would your fresh berries last without the plastic carton that is designed to prevent the fruit from spoiling too soon? The role plastics play in the food supply chain is often taken for granted. Plastics help extend the shelf life of foods and have contributed to 75% less food waste. Remember, food waste produces methane, a greenhouse gas with emissions that are 30 times more detrimental to the environment than carbon dioxide emissions.
Modern medicine relies on plastic for safe and health solutions. From the everyday items in a medicine cabinet like bandages, to the medical equipment that plays a vital role in keeping healthcare workers safe, plastics are a necessary part of Canada’s health care industry.
Plastics are helping advance eco-friendly innovations in fuel efficiency, safety, and comfort in all modes of transportation. Forget the term “pedal to the metal” when you’re driving down the highway; the average car is made with roughly 151 kilograms of plastic, so the phrase should really be “pedal to the plastic.” Most modern cars are made of over 50% plastic, and that percentage is set to increase as vehicle manufacturers seek to integrate more plastics and polymer composites to improve vehicle performance, safety, and fuel/energy savings. And this doesn’t just mean virgin plastics. As auto manufacturers work to meet sustainability goals and use post-consumer recycled content, many more auto parts will also be made using recycled plastics.
Plastic building materials are improving the durability, energy efficiency, and safety of essential construction products such as roofing, insulation, vapour barriers windows, piping, and more. The demand for “green concrete” solutions from commercial and residential builders demonstrates how plastic waste can play an exciting role in the construction industry. In many cases, advanced recycling technology can regenerate plastic waste normally destined for landfills, into new materials that can be as solid and strong as cement while using significantly less GHG emissions to produce.
Plastics have already played a large role in keeping healthcare workers safe during the pandemic. As we look to the future, the plastics industry will also help shape a resilient economic recovery in Canada.
The plastics industry is responsible for more than $28 billion of products sold each year and it supports nearly 100,000 jobs across the country. What’s more, by responsibly managing plastics and working towards zero waste, we can increase jobs and economic growth. By building the infrastructure and investing in the innovations that will make plastics fully recyclable and reusable we’ll create more than 40,000 jobs and save $500 million each year.