There is no secret to the fact that plastic is one of the most commonly used materials in consumerism today. It is literally everywhere we look. There is a good reason for this. Plastic comes with an array of advantageous cost-saving attributes that makes it perfect for production such as injection as well as blow moulding, and thermoforming, but also for recycling.
For civil engineering, plastics have become an important material for several reasons:
- It is cost effective
- It reduces pollution
- It is recyclable
- It is easy to ship raw plastics
- It offers cost-effective transportation solutions
- It can be mass produced in a short space of time
All these factors provide civil engineering as well as infrastructure project managers and their teams a flexible material that can be used in almost any development plan.
1.Recycling is the most important attribute
Arguably this is the number one reason plastic manufacturing continues to thrive. If plastics were not recyclable, then it would not have such a good reputation. That said, plastic does have a bad rep when it comes to littering. This is not because of the plastic and is due to irresponsible human beings not disposing of their plastics so they can make back to the recycling process.
2. Easy to transport thanks to its lightweight compound
Rather than shipping drinks or bulk liquid materials using glass containers or large metal containers, companies prefer to use plastics. Bulk plastic containers weigh much less than huge metal containers. Even some freight shipments use plastics instead of bulky metal containers that we often see stacked high on ships or being pulled along by truck or lorry – nonetheless, this is rare.
For smaller everyday transport of bottles, liquids, and other materials, plastics are ideal. Due to their lightweight and flexibility in design via injection moulding techniques, plastics reduces the costs of logistics and also have unseen benefits on our environment.
3. Helps to reduce pollution in the logistics market
Due to the lightweight compound of plastics, the stress on vehicles transporting plastics is much less. Plus because of the flexibility of plastics making it easy to manipulate the shape needed, logistics companies will design plastic shipping solutions that will take up every inch of space on the transports being used. No wasted spaces and plastics being light in weight mean that you can fit far more good into a single shipment.
So, what does this mean? It means that fewer shipments are made because the design of the plastics makes it possible to fit more onto the transporter. For example, if using a plastic solution means a company can ship 10% more goods per shipment, imagine how that adds up over 10 shipments a day over 365 days per year.
That is a lot of fuel saved thus less bad carbons hitting our atmosphere.
4. It is a more cost-effective solution than other materials
Due to the abundance of natural resources used to create pre-production plastics, the cost of sourcing plastics for manufacturers is lower than most other alternatives. In addition to this, in point three we mention the fact that plastics are lightweight and easy to transport in comparison to alternative materials. With logistical costs lower, this means overall cost of running the plastic supply chain is not as much as if you were shipping wood, metals, and other materials.
Plastic is an easy material to procure and transport driving down supply chain costs, which is reflected in its final price from the point at which it arrives in the factory to its commercial sale in high street shops, markets, department stores and online.
5. Mass Production of Plastics
Plastics can be produced very quickly indeed. This means machinery is in use less than other production lines causing less energy consumption. All in all, the effort that goes into production is huge, but the carbon footprint is low. In the end, a sustainable product is produced that is easy to ship and cost-effective for the entire supply chain.
This is why plastics have become so effective within the automotive industry. Cars need plastic in quite a few areas of their build. Seat belts, dashboards, and many other components found in cars are made from plastic. Furthermore, the construction industry has come to rely on the affordable and reliant plastics production chain.
Another industry worth mentioning is the aviation industry. Certain types of plastics are required to build planes. Aerospace and aviation require chemicals to be used for the everyday functioning of planes and equipment. Many of the plastics are resistant to these chemicals making them idea containers. Plastics can be found, or injection moulding companies can be found servicing private, public, and military aviation companies as well as many aerospace companies.
Plastics for Civil Engineering Purposes
There you have it. There are some very good reasons plastics are in fact an advantageous material not just for civil engineers, but for numerous industries. However, when it comes to civil engineering projects, and budgets are limited with the most cost-effective solution being demanded, plastics often become the best option. Transportation of plastics is cheaper than most other materials because of its lightweight compound, plus there are 100s of other areas plastic production becomes the best choice over other materials.