Why are plastics used in durable goods?
Manufactured items defined with a useful life of more than three years, including automobiles, appliances, computers, etc., are called durable goods. Manufacturers of durable goods choose plastics for many reasons:
- The automotive industry chooses plastic for its durability, corrosion resistance, ease of coloring and finishing, resiliency, cost, energy efficiency, and light weight. Light weight translates directly into improved fuel usage experience and lowered costs to the consumer. Use of plastics in car bodies, along with improvements in coating technology, contribute to automobiles lasting much longer than vehicles did before the widespread use of plastics in fender liners, quarter panels, and other body parts.
- Major appliance manufacturers use plastics because of their ease of fabrication, wide range of design potential, and thermal, electrical, and acoustic insulation. Plastics characteristics can significantly reduce production and use energy consumption and greenhouse gas generation. Plastic insulation in refrigerators and freezers helps reduce operations costs to the consumer.
- The building and construction industry uses vinyl siding for homes because of its appearance, durability, ease of installation, cost, and energy efficiency.
- Plastics can reduce energy consumption for the auto, appliance, and building and construction industries, providing a substantial saving in production costs5.