World Water Day 2017: Plastics to preserve water

Every year on 22 March, the United Nations (UN) celebrate World Water Day as "a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources”.

Many may not be aware, but plastics play a crucial role in preserving water. Indeed, on a daily basis, we all rely on a safe and constant supply of drinking water. Sustainable water transportation, even over long distances, needs to be leak-free, avoiding corrosion, soil or bacterial contamination. Pipes transporting water need to have durable sealing, be easy and quick to install, while being corrosion resistant and having a long service life. Plastic pipes meet all these requirements.  


It is estimated that in Europe about 25% of the drinking water leaks – unused – in the underground. The situation is similar with sewage with about 1/3 of the sewage network damaged. For this reason, the reliability of the material plays a decisive role in the modernisation or new installation of drinking water and wastewater pipes. This is one of the main reasons why nowadays plastics are the material of choice when it comes to water pipes. Plastic pipes are more flexible and more resistant, leaks on connecting pieces can almost be excluded and, they often can be used for more than 100 years.  

Plastic pipes also have an amazing eco-footprint: from production, to laying, to recycling at the end of their use phase, they on average use 1,000 g of polypropylene for pipe production and only about 1,005 g of starting materials - it can hardly be done more efficiently. The processing takes place at low temperatures, usually well below 200 degrees centigrade. 

Trenchless laying techniques reduce costs and reduce traffic restrictions thanks to smaller construction sites and short construction times. Further alternative methods for the laying of plastic pipework such as mechanical ploughing further reduce intrusion into nature. In addition, plastic pipes are fully recyclable. Already since 1994 an industrial collection and recycling system for plastic pipe materials exists, providing a high-quality secondary raw material for a sensible secondary use.  

More information on Plastics and Water can be found in our brochure "Plastics to preserve water
Did you know ?
  • An Indian teacher of chemistry known as Plastic Man has built more than 5000 km of roads with plastic waste.