Safe, Sanitary Plastics

Some plastics are designed to be used once or for a short period of time. Many of these plastics help improve our health and safety, while lowering environmental impacts.

People rely on plastic products and packaging to improve our quality of life in several ways. Plastics enhance health and wellness; improve access to safe, nutritious foods; and reduce environmental impacts. For example, we rely on sterile plastics to help safely administer medicines and lifesaving medical treatments, while preventing the spread of infection and disease. Plastics also help keep food fresher longer, helping to prevent waste, food poisoning, and illness.

Health & Wellness Heart

Health & Wellness: Plastics Help Us Heal

Families and health care professionals rely on sterile plastics and plastic packaging to help protect health and hygiene.

When we're injured, a plastic bandage helps us heal.
When we're caring for a baby, plastic diapers help our little ones stay clean and dry.
When we're sick, plastic IV bags help us recover.

Energy Efficiency

Food Safety: Plastics Protect Our Food

Our food benefits from plastics at every link in the supply chain, from farm to plate.


In factories, sanitary gloves help prevent food contamination.

Packaging prevents food waste by keeping food clean and safe so it maintains freshness for days, or even weeks.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Recover.

Sustainability: Plastics Reduce Our Environmental Impact

The environmental cost of using plastics in consumer goods and packaging is nearly four times less than it would be if alternative materials were used. 1


less energy


less GHGs


less tons

And finally, technologies that convert non-recycled plastic into energy help divert additional materials from landfills.

Recycle, Recover, Reuse: Preventing Plastics Litter

Plastic and other packaging doesn't belong in the environment. Plastic producers are working to help improve product design as well as recycling and recovery systems.

Vision for Resource Management

Plastic Production
Creating Useful Products
Consumer Use & Reuse
Post-Use Collection
Fuels and Energy
Mechanical Recycling
Chemical Recycling
Conversion Technologies

Plastic products and packaging help keep the foods, medicines and other products we rely on safe and sanitary. And commitments from businesses, governments and NGOs to increase recycling and recovery efforts will allow us to continue to optimize those benefits while reducing environmental impacts.

1Trucost 2016, Plastics and Sustainability: A Valuation of Environmental Benefits, Costs and Opportunities for Continuous Improvement.

2Life Cycle Impacts of Plastic Packaging Compared To Substitutes in the United States and Canada: Theoretical Substitution Analysis.