Plastics and Waste Reduction FAQ


For generations, plastic manufacturers have been blamed by various groups to amplifying the world’s waste stream. But, the truth is plastic has actually been paving the way for reducing the waste stream through constant innovation and technological improvements in material production.

As you will see in this FAQ, plastic plays a significant role in waste reduction in America and around the world.    

Q: How Are Today’s Plastic Products Helping Reduce the Waste Stream?

A: Because plastic is so strong, much less is required to perform certain tasks than previously thought. As a result, much less plastic is being used in today’s products compared to just ten years ago. For instance:

  • Today, the plastic film packaging that’s used to make large diaper packs generate 50% less waste by volume compared with previous packaging materials.
  • Grocery bags made with plastic generate 80% less waste than those made from paper and today’s plastic bags are just 0.7 mils thick, whereas in 1976, plastic grocery bags were 2.3 mils thick.
  • Modern polystyrene foam plates are made using 25% less polystyrene compared to those made in 1974.

In addition to less plastic being used to make products, the fact that plastic is re-useable also serves to keep a large portion of it out of landfills. The increased life span of plastics, as well as their durability and flexibility, allows them to be used in multiple applications, often again and again. For instance, bottles can be used multiple times for various purposes or they can recycled and turned into brand new products.

Q: How Do Plastics Help Modern Industries Reduce Their Impact on the Waste Stream?

A: For starters, plastic is significantly lighter than almost all other alternative materials. This enables it to dramatically reduce the weight of truck payloads, thus reducing the number of trucks on the road. In fact, a single truck can carry nearly three million plastic grocery bags whereas the same truck can only transport 500,000 paper grocery bags. 

Plastic manufacturers are also able to produce their products using a very efficient process, often reaching efficiency levels as high as 99 percent. A byproduct of this efficiency is a 20 to 30 percent increase in productivity and a reduction of capital expenditures by as much as 50 percent.

Appliance manufacturers are among the biggest benefactors of plastic. Because the material is resistant to corrosion, they have been able to increase the lifecycle of their products by as much as 40 percent, thus drastically reducing the number of appliances being thrown out in the trash.

Q: Can Certain Plastics Be Used More Than Once Before Entering the Waste Stream?

A: Yes. In fact, this is what makes plastic one of the most eco-friendly materials on the planet. Today, more than 200 schools throughout the U.S. and Canada use refillable plastic milk cartons. These cartons can be washed out and refilled more than 100 times before needing to be recycled.

Q: Are American Consumers Reducing the Amount of Waste They Produce?

A: Yes. The amount of waste Americans are generating has been steadily decreasing since recycling became standard. This is even backed up by the Environmental Protection Agency. And, plastic has played a tremendous role in the reduction or waste production. Due to the fact that Americans are generating less waste in general, the amount of waste that’s entering our landfills is likewise decreasing.  

Need High-Quality Plastic Rods or Tubes? Call US Cast Today

US Cast is a leading plastics manufacturer that specializes in the production of acrylic tubes and rods. If you have an application that requires the strength, durability, and resiliency only offered by plastic, then contact us today. We can custom fabricate clear acrylic for any industry application or purpose. To learn more about the qualities of our premium plastics or to place a custom order, just give us a call today at 856-347-2342 or connect with us on Facebook. We look forward to helping you.


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