Looking back at the appliances and devices of the 1950s, it was impossible to predict how plastics would be used in the 21st century. The fact is plastic plays a more important role in your life than you could possibly imagine. With 45 different families of plastics, and hundreds of variations within each of these families, almost everything you do uses some form of plastic.
Revolutionising Your Grocery Shopping
While there may be a general furore surrounding the use of plastic bottles, other plastics are vital for ensuring our products stay fresh. It really wasn’t that long ago that meat was either killed fresh or cured and dried. Now, plastics keep meat fresh at the supermarket, wrap it hygienically for you to carry home, and are stored in modern refrigerators that operate efficiently through numerous components.
One person attempted to do their grocery shopping without having their items wrapped in plastic. This involved heading to an organic store to find that even their foods were often wrapped in plastic. The reason was shelf life, as foods wrapped in plastic kept longer than those wrapped in biodegradable material. We may be struggling to feed the planet, but plastic goes a long way toward food not being wasted.
Plastics and Cars
Amazingly, over 50% of a car’s total volume and 10% of their total weight is made up of plastics. Consider your steering wheels, door liners, stereo components, and numerous other visible items. It doesn’t stop there of course, with numerous engine components also made from plastic. However, plastic in cars plays an even more important role.
Your seatbelts, airbags, and structural safety components are all manufactured from plastic. Plastic fuel tanks have been purpose-built so they won’t explode on impact. Even your windshield has a layer of plastic between two panes of glass to keep your eyes safe in an emergency. Finally, plastic can be used to make your car better for the environment. For every 10% of weight reduction in a car or truck, up to 7% less fuel will be used.
Energy Efficient Homes
Believe it or not, many high efficiency LED light bulbs are made from recycled plastic, but the wonders of plastic in the home don’t stop there. Life-threatening asbestos has thankfully done its dash, to be replaced by insulation that uses numerous forms of plastics to keep your home warm and dry.
Plastic foam sprays are also available to seal small holes, and the plastics used in soft furnishings can supply cost-effective thermal drapes and blinds.
Plastics and Modern Medicine
If you think about the average number of syringes Britain’s hospitals must go through daily, you’ll get a firm idea of how much plastics have revolutionised everything.
Plastics can also be found in intravenous tubing and bags, not to mention the gloves and masks that medical staff uses to prevent disease from spreading. Heart valves and hip joints are made of plastic, as are artificial limbs.
Even the pills you take are coated in plastic to ensure that whatever you need is dispersed throughout your body correctly. Outside the more dramatic uses of plastics in healthcare, they also protect your eyes from UV rays and allow your glasses to not look like your great-grandfather’s metal spectacles.
Plastics in Electronics
The lightweight nature of plastics, not to mention its surprising durability, is the reason why you can drop your smartphone and wonder at how it stays working. It’s also why you can sling your iPad over one shoulder and your Mac Air over the other without hurting yourself.
While you work from anywhere, or call your colleague to say you’re running late, plastics are patiently regulating your home’s heating and air conditioning system, and stopping your office’s servers from overheating. When you finally collapse after your busy day, your television will use liquid crystalline plastics to beam beautiful images into your living room while running with a level of energy efficiency a cathode ray tube could only dream of.
Light, hygienic, and durable, plastic has truly transformed the way we live, and will only improve our lives in the future.
At Polythene UK we understand the importance of plastic and are proud to produce Poly air, a plastic that is 100% recyclable. For more information about our product range , get in touch with Polythene UK today. Call 0845 643 1601* or contact us online.