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Plastics Help Lower Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By allowing manufacturers and consumers to do more with less, using plastics can help reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions throughout the life of a product or package. A recent European study [1]found that replacing plastics with other materials would require the use of 57 percent more energy and result in a 61 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions.1

Efficient Packaging

Much of the packaging we use in the United States is made from plastics.  In addition to increasing the shelf life of foods and beverages, plastics help reduce our environmental foot print by lowering energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. A recent life cycle study  found that replacing all plastic packaging in the United States with alternatives would increase energy use by 80 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 130 percent. >> learn more

Home Energy Savings: Adding It All Up

Many plastic building products promote the efficient use of energy and other resources. A one-year study  found that the use of plastic building and construction materials saved 467.2 trillion Btu of energy over alternative construction materials. That’s enough energy saved over the course of a year to meet the average annual energy needs of 4.6 million U.S. households.  

From roofing, walls, windows and more—architects and designers rely on plastics to help maximize energy efficiency. » learn more

Lighter, More Fuel Efficient Vehicles

Reducing vehicle weight can have a significant effect on fuel efficiency and emissions. For every 10-percent weight reduction achieved, a vehicle’s fuel economy can improve by six to eight percent. Automotive components designed in plastic and plastic-metal hybrids have achieved significant weight savings over some conventional designs. Today’s plastics typically make up 50 percent of a vehicle’s volume, but only 10 percent of its weight. The growing use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics could one day improve fuel efficiency by about 35 percent.   » learn more


[1] Denkstatt GmbH. The impact of plastics on life cycle energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. Vienna, Austria. June 2010, p. 11.

Plastics Packaging in Resource Efficiency

Energy efficient plastic packaging helps companies ship more product with less fuel. Download our Infosheet.

Resource Efficiency And Waste Prevention

Download this comprehensive study on packaging efficiency, which examines trends in consumer packaging and their impact on reducing waste. 

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Plastics Statistics

The Plastics Industry Producers Statistics Group (PIPS) provides relevant, timely, comprehensive and extensive business statistics on the plastic resins industry.

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Plastics Make It Possible Tiny House

The Plastics Make it Possible® Tiny House shows how plastic building materials can reduce energy use, improve durability, and ease maintenance–while saving homeowners money on energy bills.