Durable, pliable, and strong, there is no limit to what plastics can be used for. But what if you had to pick just a handful of applications? Which applications would you choose? Maybe its plastic bottles and coolers as they have made it easy to transport hot and cold liquids. Or, maybe it is electronic devices which rely on plastics for their housings.
Did you know that plastics are also used to make the bullet-proof vests used to protect soldiers and police officers? That’s correct, plastics can be used for just about anything you can think of and here are five wonderful applications that plastics have made possible.
One of the reasons why there is no limit to how plastics can be used that it is not only lightweight, but it can easily be molded into almost any form. This makes plastics great material to be used in packaging.
Applications include everything from plastic bags to packaging for food and liquids. Advances in plastics have helped to reduce food waste as new materials help to keep foods fresher for longer.
But plastics are not only used to package food and other perishable items, but the material is also used for crates and bins which can be used to store and ship just about anything. With the growth of eCommerce, this means that shippers can utilize reusable bins to reduce packaging costs. Not only does this help to increase profits but it also limits the amount of waste created in the supply chain.
- Construction Materials
As construction costs have continued to climb developers and contractors alike have looked for ways to meet the needs of their customers while keeping their prices in line. The answer? Plastics and it’s not just the everyday tubes and pipes you are used to seeing as specialty manufacturers have worked engineers to make their ideas a reality.
According to Keller Plastics, this runs the gamut from “tough custom design needs to commonplace plastic extrusion manufacturing.” The results include 3D designing and rapid prototyping of materials to making custom parts which are used in the most complex designs you can imagine.
Don’t assume that plastics are only used in pipes and tubes. Plastics are also used in flooring, roofing, windows, doors, and even insulation. These materials are built to last years and not only deliver value to the property owners who install them but can be used to increase energy efficiency – which is good for the environment.
If you drive or take a bus to work, or even the train, then you are familiar with the use of plastics in transportation. The contribution of plastics to the total weight of many new cars coming off assembly lines can be up to 10 percent. This is not just the dashboard but also door liners, engine components, and steering wheels.
The result of the reduced weight due to plastics use is increased fuel mileage. In this way, plastics are being used to help reduce the total amount of CO2 emissions every year. According to some sources, the reduction of a vehicle by one pound can cut CO2 emissions by close to 25.3 pounds per year.
While the exact number depends on the annual mileage and the type of driving, a 100-pound reduction on a car that is operated for 10 years could result in a 12.7-ton reduction in emissions over the same period – this is the same as planting 13 mature trees.
- Sporting Equipment
Think about the shoulder pads your kids use when riding their bike, these are made of plastics. The same is true for the helmets they use as well as the mouthguards that help to protect their teeth if they are involved in a contact sport.
But it is not just the equipment they use for safety; plastics are also used to mold the cleats they use for added traction in field sports and even the nets used in tennis and volleyball. As you can see, this flexible material truly knows no bounds.
- Plastics in Medicine
Did you know that plastics have made hospitals safer places? Before the introduction of plastics, many of the materials used in medicine were expensive and could carry infections between patients. However, the use of plastics in medicine along with strict controls governing single-use devices has changed this.
Plastics are even used in surgical tools and medical devices such as joint replacements and heart valves. The use of the materials has helped to improve quality control during the manufacturing process while reducing the overall cost of making the products. With better quality and lower costs, this means that more people have been able to benefit from the life-saving qualities of plastics.