How Everyday Plastics Reduce Our Environmental Footprint

Plastics help us reduce waste, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions. Explore the many environmental benefits of plastics in the products we need and love…plus a new study finding that plastics have nearly four times less environmental impact than alternatives.

Infographic with the following text: How Everyday Plastics Reduce Our Environmental Footprint. Lightweight, durable plastics have significantly less impact on the environment than alternative materials — nearly four times less, a new study finds. The use of plastics to make products and packaging helps us reduce waste, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions...so we can enjoy the products we need and love while reducing our environmental footprint. Lighter Environmental Footprint For Our Cars. Modern vehicles are about 50% plastics by volume but only 10% plastics by weight, which helps us improve fuel efficiency. It’s a win for the environment and a win for your wallet. Environmental benefits of using plastics in modern passenger vehicles: 89 MILLION GALLONS Amount of gasoline and diesel saved over the lifetime of vehicles in North America $2.4 BILLION Environmental cost savings in North America over the lifetime of cars sold in 2015 $162 Environmental cost savings per car in North America. Costs and Opportunities for Continuous Improvement,” a 2016 study by Trucost on packaging and consumer goods. Environmental benefits of steak sold in modern plastic packaging: 13% to 18% Waste reduction More than $2.18 million Environmental cost savings in North America for every additional 1% of steak saved from waste. SOMETHING TO CHEW ON. Lightweight plastic film helps keep oxygen away from your food, reducing costly food waste. $606 per metric tonne Environmental cost savings for beef sold in North America. SOFT DRINKS AND SUSTAINABILITY. If plastic soft drink packaging were replaced with other materials, our favorite beverages would create a lot more waste. Amount of materials needed to replace 1 metric tonne of plastics: PLASTICS 1 metric tonne ALTERNATIVE MATERIALS 7.3 metric tonnes. ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY FUN. Many of our favorite toys are made with plastics. If they were made with other materials, they'd be a lot less fun for the environment. Amount of materials needed to replace 1 metric tonne of plastics: PLASTICS ALTERNATIVE

Highlights from “Plastics and Sustainability: A Valuation of Environmental Benefits, Costs and Opportunities for Continuous Improvement,” a 2016 study by Trucost on packaging and consumer goods.

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