We chop our vegetables on it, lean against it when looking out of the window or use it to protect ourselves from heat and cold: it is impossible to imagine houses and flats without plastic as a building material. The building and construction sector shapes your home in Europe with approximately 10 million tonnes of plastic per year. It’s no wonder that developers’ eyes glaze over at the sight of plastic, because it’s cheap, sustainable, safe and probably even outlives its creators.
10 million tonnes. That can’t be right, can it? Yes, it can, because plastic is often taken for granted and likes to hide in houses or apartments – for example, when it’s used in pipes. And the clever thing is, plastic doesn’t rust and therefore lasts a long time.
An additional benefit is that plastics can be produced cheaply. That’s why you can also save resources. Let’s say you live in a house that is insulated with plastic, which is perfect for keeping it warm inside in the winter and nice and cool in the summer. And now imagine – the amount of energy used to produce the insulation material has already paid for itself after approximately one year. Unbelievable!
A plastic pipe can be used for more than 100 years, cables laid underground last 50 years. And when they do give up the ghost, they can fortunately be recycled. What’s more, a nice side effect is that plastic also provides ideal insulation when the neighbours turn up their music.
A clean home is a happy home, so they say. Plastic pipes will help you enormously. They do not rust and water flows safely and hygienically through the house. Another must-have are plastic worktops and flooring – because they can be cleaned easily and without special cleaning products.
Things get serious when it comes to fire protection. Imagine you wish to quickly boil an egg in the morning, switch on the hotplate – and the doorbell rings. A quick chat with the postman, a quick hello to the neighbour, and then off to work. It is only there that you remember the cooker top in a panic. It’s a good thing you invested in a reliable plastic warning system: smoke detectors, alarms and automatic fire extinguishing systems – they are all made of plastic.
So plastic is in many ways a secret helper in house and home. It protects our home, builds it sustainably, and does so affordably – without us really noticing it. Maybe you see your home and your plastics through different eyes today.
Photo credit: iStock.com/miodrag ignjatovic, iStock.com/Lex20 , iStock.com/sturti