Humanity has always had a need for containers to store liquids or powders or other materials, and in fact some ancient societies such a the Funnelbeaker Culture are distinguished by their containers, jugs, and drinking vessels (typically made of clay). Today, clay pots are largely relegated to pottery classes, as today’s commercial containers are made from modern materials with modern contents and use in mind. Plastic dominates here, being lightweight and tough, and plastic jars, colored plastic bottles, industrial plastic bottles, and more are commonly used. Blow molded containers such as plastic jars and more can be produced in huge numbers, and are often sold wholesale to any and all businesses that use them for their products. This ranges from water cooler companies to soft drink companies and automotive shops and beyond. What is there to know about the production of plastic goods such as plastic jars, and what might be put in them?
Plastic Jugs and More
It is safe to say that plastic is a dominant force in today’s industries. It has not entirely replaced other materials such as wood, glass, or metal, as those materials have properties that plastic cannot match. But for many uses, plastic is the go-to choice. Why? Plastic is easy to manufacture, and it does not harm the environment to produce since it requires no lumber. Today around the world, an impressive 600 billion tons of plastic goods are made and consumed every single year, and the market is still growing, at about 5% each year. The United States stands as the third-biggest industry for making plastic goods, and in 2013, around 107.5 billion pounds of plastics and reins were produced. This was a minor but solid growth over 2012’s production of 105.9 billion pounds of it. This means that plenty of goods today are either made entirely of plastic such as jugs or plastic jars, or at least include plastic, such as their casings. For example, it has been determined that Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every single hour. In the United States alone, the plastic industry is a manufacturing juggernaut, employing some one million workers and contributing nearly $375 billion to the American economy.
What is being made out of plastic, or with plastic parts? The short answer is “almost everything,” which isn’t far from the truth. Some products may be distinctive, however. Often, liquids today are stored in plastic jugs, bottles, or jars, since plastic containers are lighter than glass ones and don’t shatter nearly as easily if dropped or struck. For example, water coolers are a common feature in business spaces today, and these coolers are supplied with large plastic jugs of pure water. These coolers are resupplied when providers arrive on site to refill those jugs or provide new ones. Meanwhile, the automotive industry also makes good use of plastic, and liquids such as engine oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, and more may be contained in these jugs. Such jugs often have handles on them and screw-on caps, and consumers may buy them in some retailers for their own use. The automotive section of a retailer such as Target or Walmart, for example, may have clearly labeled jugs of such liquids.
Soft drinks especially make use of plastic containers, and many sodas today are sold in them. Glass Coca-Cola bottles are largely a novelty nostalgic of the 1950s. Now, soft drinks are commonly consumed, bought, and sold nearly everywhere from gas stations to grocery stores, and these bottles are convenient for the consumer and vendor alike. They may be smaller bottles for one drinker, or a two-liter bottle.
Plastic does not biodegrade and is known to harm the environment, so Americans can and often do recycle plastic goods, especially empty drink vessels. This can boost resource efficiency as well as slow down pollution and landfill growth, and melted plastic can be remade into nearly anything. Plastic timbers are one example, and they mimic the appearance and function of wooden timbers. Often, such plastic timbers may be used for framing a garden or mulch area in a park or garden, and they can be used to make park benches or lightweight playground equipment for kids to use. These timbers don’t easily rot or get scratched like actual wooden timbers.