Six things you might not know are made with Plastics

TORONTO, June 29, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Planes, cars, workout clothes, tennis racquets, heart stents, eyeglasses are just a few items in our daily lives that are made better with plastics.

Our latest airplanes

Two of the most technologically advanced passenger jets—Boeing Dreamliner and Airbus A350 XWB—are made with composites of plastics that are reinforced with other materials, such as carbon fibres. So the planes are really tough, lighter weight, and more fuel-efficient. And check out the composite wing tips on the Airbus … they bend during flight to improve efficiency!

Drive a modern car? Half of it's made of plastics.

That's right, half your car. Today's modern car is approximately 50 percent plastics by volume. But it's only approximately 10 percent plastics by weight. Lightweight yet tough plastics—including those advanced composites used in the airplane example above—allow carmakers to "lightweight" their vehicles to help significantly improve gas mileage (plus, enhance safety and design features, too).

That's not all. For example, Ford Motor Company says, "Few innovations provide a more wide-ranging performance and efficiency advantage than reducing weight. All factors of a vehicle's capabilities—acceleration, handling, braking, safety, efficiency—can improve through the use of advanced, lighter materials."

Play sports? You're probably wearing plastic fibres.

Next time you're in a sporting goods store, check out the labels on the shirts, shorts, leggings, and other sports clothing. Nylon, polyester, acrylic, lycra, spandex … all plastic fibres that make up today's modern stretchy, comfy, sweat-wicking fabrics. And swimmers and surfers—can you even find a cotton swimsuit these days? (Plus, check out most of the safety equipment: helmets, shin guards, mouth guards … pretty much all plastics.)

Play tennis? That racquet's (typically) made with plastics.

"Isn't it graphite?" you may ask. Yes. Graphite = carbon. Most modern racquets are made with composites, such as plastics and carbon fibre, typically called carbon fibre-reinforced plastics. Like the composites mentioned above, they're lighter weight, stiffer, and stronger than many of the previous materials used for racquets.

Stents to open blocked heart arteries

Life-saving "stents" are inserted into coronary arteries to open a heart blockage and deliver medication. They typically are small metal mesh devices covered in plastics. A U.S.A. Food and Drug Administration panel has approved a plastic heart stent that doesn't need the metal mesh. It does its job and then just dissolves completely over time. It helps save a life, then disappears.

Modern eyeglasses

It's probably not the best idea to place breakable glass lenses close to your eyeballs. That's why nearly all modern eyeglasses are made with tough, shatter-resistant plastics, such as polycarbonate. These plastic lenses can be crafted into myriad prescriptions and shapes—and then attached to plastic frames to make us look professional, hipster, nerdy, younger … you get it. Maybe they should be called "eyeplastics"?

Take a look around; how many of today's modern, efficient, essential products are made with plastics?

Today's intelligent plastics are vital to the modern world. These materials enhance our lifestyles, our economy and the environment. For more information, visit

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