The rise of plastic packaging

Filed under: Features — Posted by: Daniel on July 16, 2013

Considered as one of the most widely used and versatile materials in the world, plastic can be found in most modern day items. It is used in business, retail, luxury, and construction because of its flexible properties. The most common use is for plastic packaging, because it successfully preserves the items inside and it protects them from external damage. Its durability gives it valuable benefits to manufacturers.

Plastic: a history

The very first patented plastic was created in 1862, and its base was cellulose. This meant that it could be heated and molded into different shapes – exactly how plastic is used today.

Further along, in 1908, Cellophane was created by Dr. Jacques Edwin Brandenberger who discovered it when he was trying to make a cloth that was resistant to stains. Instead of achieving what he set out to, he created the first packaging that was resistant to liquids.

In 1930, the adhesive plastic tape was invented, which gave businesses the means to seal packages, a useful tool then and now.

Cling film was created in 1933, which when first used was only available to the military. Gradually, it became more widely available, and now allows people to keep their food fresh.

Fast forward to 2013, and there are hundreds of types of plastic packaging, from cling film to bubble wrap. Research into plastic and its uses in packaging has not ceased since the very first plastic was discovered, and the benefits just continue to grow as more of the material’s uses are found.

Industry developments

As more uses are discovered for plastic, more industries want to be able to make the most of them, as plastic is not the only industry that has been widely developed. As the industries that use plastic packaging the most continue to evolve, the demand for packaging continues to increase each year. Now with the option of plastic recycling, these industries are taking fewer risks to environmental safety.

One of the main industries to use plastic packaging is the food and beverage industry. The uses for plastic within this industry are extensive and, because plastic is hard-wearing, it makes it even more desirable.

From 2011 to 2012, the demand for plastic has increased by 1.2% in the UK, rising to 2.75 tonnes. Plastic packaging alone accounted for 44% of this demand, which was more than building and construction. Food and drink remains a large part of the world today, so it is no surprise that plastic is used to supply this industry with packaging.

Another industry that uses a large portion of plastic packaging is cosmetics. This industry has developed fast and furiously over the years, and a large number of adverts are dedicated to this industry alone. Personal care is a huge market, especially when celebrities are promoting it every day through TV and media, therefore the rising demand for cosmetics has also increased the rise of plastic packaging.

Since plastic provides many beneficial uses, it remains a prominent material, and the rise of plastic packaging is expected to continue tremendously.

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