Choose from the list of topics below.

Marine Debris
Life Cycle Studies and Environmental Product Declarations
Community Tools


The surge of natural gas production from shale has reversed the fortunes of the U.S. plastics industry. Because the competitiveness of plastic resins depends on energy costs—in particular, the difference between oil and natural gas prices—shale gas development has changed the competitive landscape for U.S. plastics.

  • Executive Summary: Population Growth and Materials Demand Study [August 2019]
    This report examines global mega trends that will affect future demand for plastics; economic variables and commodity material demand for things like food, drinking water, personal care products, health/medical care, fuel-efficient cars, energy-efficient homes, and connectivity; and potential demand for plastics and other materials. It also provides regional analyses. This Executive Summary was prepared by IHS Market in August 2019.

  • Full Report: The Rising Competitive Advantage of U.S. Plastics [May 2015]
    This report provides statistics—including investment, jobs creation, output and exports—on economic impacts of shale-advantaged resin for the U.S. plastics industry.

Marine Debris

America's plastics makers are committed to working on the problem of ocean litter. We support efforts to reduce waste, increase recycling and litter prevention programs, and foster regional and global partnerships.


This includes a broad range of information focusing on plastic benefits, plastics packaging, material comparison studies, lists of recycled products and their manufacturers, and more!

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Life Cycle Studies and Environmental Product Declarations

These publications contain more detailed environmental information, focusing on energy use, recycling, waste impact, source reduction, etc. They also compare the energy use, environmental emissions and waste impact of plastic and alternative materials.

  • Impact of Plastics Packaging on Life Cycle Energy Consumption & Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the United States and Canada
    Prepared by Franklin Associates for the American Chemistry Council and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, this study assessed the energy requirements and greenhouse gas emissions of six general categories of plastic packaging produced and sold in the United States and Canada. These include caps and closures, beverage containers, other rigid containers, carrier bags, stretch/shrink wrap, and other flexible packaging. The assessment found that for the baseline year 2010, replacing all plastic packaging with non-plastic alternatives for these six types of packaging in the United States would: require 4.5 times as much packaging material by weight, increase energy use by 80 percent, and result in 130 percent more global warming potential.

  • Plastics vs. Steel: Is Automotive Light Weighting A No-Brainer?
    The life cycle performance of polymers in comparison to commonly used steel alloys was assessed in automotive applications. The cradle-to-grave LCA considers a total service life of 150,000 miles for two case studies: A 46 percent lighter plastic bolster on the 2010 Ford Taurus that replaced the 2008 plastic and steel bolster and, a 51 percent lighter plastic running board for the Chevrolet Trailblazer/GMC that replaced the previous steel running board. The life cycle stages included in these critically reviewed and ISO compliant LCA studies address the production of upstream materials and energy, product manufacturing, use, and the end-of-life treatment for all materials used throughout the life cycle.
  • Life Cycle Inventory of Plastic Fabrication Processes: Injection Molding and Thermoforming
    The intent of the study was to develop unit process data sets for two rigid plastic product fabrication methods using primary data from plastic converters. The data quality goal for this study was to use data that most accurately represents current U.S. rigid plastic fabrication processes.

  • Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Inventory of Nine Plastics Resins and Four Polyurethane Precursors
    This newly revised report, “Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Inventory of Nine Plastics Resins and Four Polyurethane Precursors (2011),” provides current data that quantify the total energy requirements, energy sources, atmospheric pollutants, waterborne pollutants, and solid waste resulting from the production of commonly used plastic materials in North America. The plastic resins studied are: High-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), general-purpose polystyrene (GPPS), high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS). The four polyurethane precursors include flexible foam polyurethane (PU) polyether polyols, rigid foam PU polyether polyols, methylene diphenylene diisocyanate (MDI), and toluene diisocyanate (TDI). » report only | » appendices only

  • Life Cycle Inventory of 100% Post-consumer HDPE and PET Recycled Resin from Post-consumer Containers and Packaging
    Sponsored by ACC, APR, NAPCOR and PETRA, this 2011 study by Franklin Associates uses life cycle inventory (LCI) methodology to quantify the energy requirements, solid wastes, and atmospheric and waterborne emissions for the processes required to collect post-consumer PET and HDPE packaging, sort and separate the material, and reprocess it into clean recycled resin.

  • Plastic Packaging Life Cycle Inventory Studies for Coffee, Tuna and Milk Containers
    Plastic packaging is often lighter than packaging made from alternative materials. These three 2008 reports by Franklin Associates quantify the environmental benefits of lighter, or source-reduced, packaging throughout the life cycle of each product in terms of reduced energy use, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and less waste.  » coffee study » tuna study | » milk study

  • Life Cycle Inventory of Polystyrene Foam, Bleached Paperboard, and Corrugated Paperboard Foodservice Products
    This peer-reviewed 2006 study from Franklin Associates Ltd. provides an extensive and comparative look at the energy and environmental performance of foodservice packaging products made with polystyrene foam, bleached paperboard or corrugated paperboard.

  • Resource and Environmental Profile Analysis of Polyethylene Milk Bottles and Polyethylene-coated Paperboard Milk Cartons
    The purpose of this study is to quantify the energy requirements and environmental emissions of both 128-ounce and 64-ounce high-density polyethylene (HDPE) milk bottles and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) paperboard milk cartons.

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Community Tools:

Here, the recycling coordinator and industry employee will most likely find valuable information on solid waste management and tools to promote these programs to communities.

  • Perfecting the Plastics Drop-off
    A practical guide for designing and reducing contamination in a drop-off program.

  • Sorting Plastic Bottles for Recycling  
    This Guide is intended for existing MRF operators, potential new MRF owners and design engineers. Information presented in this Guide can be used to improve the efficiency of sorting and recovering plastic containers collected from the residential and commercial recyclables streams.

  • MRF Model User's Guide  
    You may wish to go a step further in analyzing the operations at your MRF by taking advantage of the Environment and Plastics Industry Council (EPIC) MRF Model, which was used as an analytical tool during preparation of the Guide. The EPIC MRF Model is a MS-Excel 5.0 spreadsheet tool that helps you systematically analyze certain operating and cost parameters at your MRF.

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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.