Can Stainless Steels Compete with Plastics?

Published 07 March 2023

Whilst the origins of thermosetting plastics and thermoplastics can be traced back to the early 1900s, the accelerated development of different types of plastics came in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. There is no doubt that plastics have transformed our lives whether it be, for example, in our homes, in healthcare, in the fast-food industry and in packaging. However, there is a complex dark side associated with our apparent love of plastics. They generally do not decompose in a desirable manner and only 9% of waste plastics are recycled today. Furthermore, the disposal of waste plastics results in 55% of these materials going to landfill and as humans we ingest on average 18kg of microplastics in our lifetimes. It has taken a long time for governments to wake up to the undesirable global plastics legacy which has slowly been crippling our environment for decades. Stainless steels can offer a compelling alternative primarily because of the following features:

  • Stainless steel products can be cleaned and reused over and over again which actually reduces the product cost over an acceptable number of reuses
  • Furthermore, stainless steels are supremely hygienic and cause no discernible impact nor harm to living creatures, foodstuffs and drinks.
  • Finally, 96% of end-of-life stainless steels are currently recycled to make new stainless steels which means their environmental footprint is one of the lowest of all manmade materials.

In this webinar, worldstainless Secretary-General Tim Collins illustrated with real world examples how stainless steel products can really compete with plastic products. Stainless steels are one of the ultimate low or zero maintenance materials therefore if you would like to learn more about how stainless steels can provide us with a safe and sustainable future.

This webinar has ended. You can watch a recording here.

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