France is hosting and presiding the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change known as "Paris 2015” from November 30th to December 11th.

COP21 is a crucial conference in order to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

Plastics contribution to Climate Protection

  • Plastics provide numerous solutions for climate protection
  • The unique characteristics of plastics make them strong contributors to a more environmentally sustainable and recovery efficient Europe
  • Plastics are lightweight, versatile and durable and therefore contribute to energy and resource savings in strategic sectors like retails, construction, healthcare, automotive and renewable energy
  • Plastics save more energy than it takes to produce and recover them and therefore is one of the most resource-eficient materials around.
  • Around 96% of crude oil and gas goes directly into energy production for heating, transport and electricity. Only 4% is used for the production of plastics
  • And at the end of it’s life, plastics are too valuable to be thrown away: plastics can be recycled or used for energy recovery
  • Planes
    Plastics helps to make planes lighter, there fore contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions. Respectively, due to lighter planes the fuel consumption is reduced.
  • Cars
    Plastic parts in cars are 40-50% lighter  than those made of alternative materials. Thus,  plastics help reduce CO2 emissions by million of tonnes a year in Europe.

    Photo: ©BASF
  • Plastics preserve water
    Plastics pipes are energy efficient. Their low weight means less energy in transport, handling and  installation. Their smoothness reduces pumping energy. Plastics pipes provide a sustainable and safe way to distribute valuable drinking water.  A new portable purification system made of plastics simplifies on-site conversion of large quantities of dirty water into potable water
  • Packaging
    50% of all European goods are packed in plastics and 60 million tonnes of CO2 are saved per year thanks to lightweight plastics packaging. Plastics enable resource efficient packaging solutions, this is due to the fact that plastic packaging facilitates significantly reduced material consumption which results in less energy consumption.
  • Solar panels
    Plastics provides important components which enables the solar energy to be converted into electricity.  Solar panels are partly made from plastics, and solar power is a free, highly efficient energy source

    Photo: © Schmidhuber + Partner GbR
  • Household
    Household devices equipped with state-of-the-art technology consume less energy. This is the benefit of premium quality plastics foam. Plastics help us economise on valuable resources such as energy and water in a way that would have been inconceivable only a few years ago.
  • Wind power
    Wind power is only one of many possibilities of using renewable energy, but did you know that capturing the power of the wind  would be impossible without plastics? The windmills blades are almost entirely made of fibre-reinforced plastics, as only this material is able to withstand the permanent mechanical  stress on a rotor of this size.
  • Insulation panels
    Applying plastic insulation panels of only 20cm  to the building’s exterior, roof and cellar ceiling  as well as installing plastic insulating windows contribute to energy saving and correspondingly, reduce CO2 emission. Plastic insulation can improve the energy efficiency and has been shown to be effective on a broad range of sustainability factors
Plastics preserve water
Solar panels
Wind power
Insulation panels

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Related information
Energy Roadmap report: "European chemistry for growth"
(published 22nd April 2013)


Energy Roadmap Brochure: "Energy policy at the crossroads"
(published 25th June 2013)

Polystyrene insulation and climate change