Plastics Crucial Contribution

August 24, 2023

How do Plastics Play a Role in Everyday Life?

Back in March of 2022, representatives from UN Member States supported a treaty to end plastic pollution globally, which is to be created by 2024 [1]. To create this treaty, members have been coming together to negotiate, including a meeting in Paris in June [2], but some nations came intending to stop plastic production forever [2]. What many don’t realize, though, is that plastics play a huge role in everyday life, and while plastic pollution is bad, plastics are a much-needed resource.  

Plastics have become an essential part in everyday life. Many of today’s greatest inventions would not have been possible if it wasn’t for plastics including clothes, phones, and many medical devices. We use plastics everyday even if we don’t realize it and play a huge role in the economy. Here are just a few ways that plastics play a beneficial role in the economy.

  • The plastic industry is a large employer: The plastics industry is the 8th largest industry in the United States which supports many goods across many different markets [3]. The market size in 2022 was valued at $457.73 billion to $643.37 billion in 2029 with a CAGR of 5% during that time [4]. Because the industry is so large, it directly and indirectly employs 1.55 million people even after the pandemic [5], with Texas, California, and Ohio having the largest number of employees [3]. Recycling plays a major role in employment as increasing recycling 75% would create 1.1 million jobs [6]. 
  • Plastic can help food last longer, resulting in less money being wasted on food: It happens to the best of us: we buy fruits and vegetables we intend to eat but the food goes bad before we have to opportunity to eat it. Every year, households waste $250 on food that ends up being wasted [7]. Though no material can prevent food from ever going bad, plastic can help slow down the process of food going bad. Not only is that better for our wallets, but it’s better for the environment as food waste releases so many greenhouse gases if it was a country, it would be the third largest emitter [8]. 
  • Plastics make items cheaper and more accessible: Many items made with other materials are often more expensive. An example of this would be with basketballs. Those that are made with leather are 7x more expensive than one made with synthetic plastic leather [9]. Toys made of plastic are cheaper to produce compared to their wooden alternatives, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation [9]. Shoes are also less expensive when they’re made with plastic and are less water intensive than other materials [9]. Some companies, like adidas, are making shoes out of recycled content as well [9]. Cars also are made with lots of plastic, resulting is cars being lighter and therefore use less fuel [10]. 

Plastics make such a big impact on the economy, and play a beneficial role by creating job opportunities, decreasing food waste, and making many everyday items cheaper and more accessible. Though many believe that with the growing popularity of sustainability that the plastics market would slow down, the trend would actually cause the opposite to happen as recycling would create more jobs and new opportunities [11]. Though there will be challenges in the future, plastics will always be a part of our lives.  


[1] Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Plastic Pollution | UNEP – UN Environment Programme

[2] Big Government Mandates Won’t Solve Our Plastic Waste Problem. Here Are Four Solutions That Will. | RealClearEnergy

[3] This Is Plastics: The U.S. Plastics Industry, at a Glance

[4] Plastic Market Size, Trends | Global Industry Growth [2022-2029] (

[5] Plastic Industry 2023: A Look at the Latest Statistics • GITNUX

[6] Video: Learn More About Recycling Jobs – PepsiCo Recycle Rally (

[7] Here’s How Much Money You’re Wasting When You Toss Out Food | HuffPost Life

[8] FWF_and_climate_change.pdf (

[9] This Is Plastics: THE EDGE OF EQUITY IV: Plastics Make Consumer Products More Affordable, Accessible

[10] 7 Facts about Plastics and the Environment | Plastics Make it Possible

[11] The Future of Plastics Jobs: Trends and Opportunities (

For 55 years, Placon has been a leading designer and manufacturer of custom and stock plastic packaging for the food, medical, and retail markets. Placon has manufacturing operations in Madison, WI; Elkhart, IN; Plymouth, MN; and West Springfield, MA, and currently ranked in Plastics News 2020 Thermoformers Ranking Top 20. Placon delivers packaging breakthroughs that inspire better engagement between people and products with industry leading innovation and award-winning packaging designs. For more information, visit