Explore as a

Share our content

1 Tahi Our plastic use

Te whakamahi i te kirihou

Plastics are often useful in modern life and our use is increasing. Look at the factsheet to see how we use and dispose of plastics. What properties of plastics make them so useful in all these industries?

Tahi 1 Our plastic use factsheet

Download 1 Tahi Our plastic use factsheet (A3 poster)  
or A4 double-sided

What are plastics? He aha ngā kirihou?

The term 'plastics' refers to the large variety of materials made from polymers and additives that can be moulded and set into various shapes. Most plastics are made from fossil fuels.

Why were plastics invented? He aha te take i hangaia ai ngā kirihou?

Plastics were first created in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a substitute for natural resources that were in short supply including ivory, horn, silk, cotton and natural rubber.

Tahi factoid plastic packaging

Why are plastics useful? He aha ai he hua tō te kirihou?

Plastics have many desirable properties including being strong, lightweight, heat and water resistant, hypoallergenic and easy to sterilise. Plastics are also cost-effective to produce and easily adapted into different shapes and colours.

How much plastics do we use? He pēwhea te rahi o te kirihou ka whakamahia e tātou?

Global production of plastics has grown exponentially and the industry is still expanding. In 2015, 407 million tonnes of plastics were produced worldwide, and 302 million tonnes of plastics were discarded.

Tahi whakatauki