BPA-based polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins generate extensive economic gains for workers and consumers in the European Union, as the polycarbonate and epoxy resin production value chains support jobs directly and safeguard the competitiveness of important EU-based industries. The use of these materials also provides public benefits that satisfy wide social concerns and needs.
Improving daily life of citizens
Polycarbonate applications provide numerous benefits to European citizens through increased safety, by reducing the risk of serious injury, and by providing material solutions that can be used in the treatment of illness.
Polycarbonate applications can also reduce environmental impact by improving resource efficiency, reducing energy consumption, and therefore, limiting CO2 emissions – a key goal for the EU.
For European consumers, the increased use of polycarbonate provides increased personal choice and convenience. Polycarbonate is a lightweight, highly versatile, durable, heat and shatter resistant, formable and transparent plastic. It has been used to replace other less suitable alternative products or to improve upon products.
European citizens also benefit from the use of polycarbonate by product manufacturers for a wide variety of applications.
Products made with polycarbonate improve the quality, enhance the performance, and/or lower the cost of the product. In all of these ways, polycarbonate improves the daily life of Europe’s citizens.
- BPA-based polycarbonate and epoxy resins are extremely durable while remaining lightweight and are therefore the materials of choice in food packaging. The materials allow food to stay safe and fresh and thereby contribute to reducing food waste. BPA-based food contact materials also facilitate good hygiene conditions because of their heat resistance.
- Modern cars are lighter and safer, because car makers use polycarbonate instead of glass, resulting in a reduced weight, less energy consumption, and thus less fuel need- to move the car. The European automotive industry increasingly uses polycarbonate technology in a wide range of structural, safety and aesthetic applications. It continues to provide engineers with the basis for innovation, such as in new glazing for weight reduction and safety features.
- In the construction industry, polycarbonate is used for improving insulation and lighting. The combination of fire resistance, light weight, durability, impact resistance and transparency provides architects and users with tailored creative solutions. This helps develop new structures, reduce costs, improve energy efficiency and minimise the environmental impact of buildings.
Medical & Healthcare
- Medical devices depend on polycarbonate to provide the safety characteristics needed. Many important medical devices would not exist if it were not for the biocompatibility, low weight, contact safety, ease of sterilisation, transparency and strength of polycarbonate.
Electrical and Electronic
- In the Electrical and Electronics sector, the flame retardance, impact resistance and durability of polycarbonate helps manufacturers meet the need for continuously higher standards of appearance, sustainability and safety. This also satisfies emerging regulatory or ecodesign standards.
Contributing to jobs in Europe
Polycarbonate is a key product in many sectors of the EU's manufacturing industries. The polycarbonate 'value chain' consists of all the polycarbonate manufacturers, convertors/ processors, manufacturers of articles, wholesalers and retailers. 535,000 jobs in the EU depend, either directly or indirectly, on the production and use of polycarbonate, according to data collected in 2010.
Irrespective of whether they host a national production site, most European countries have companies and industries that need polycarbonate as an essential raw material for their processing and manufacturing industries. This is because more than 90% of the economic value added is generated in the processing, manufacturing and trading sectors - that is to say, in the stages after the initial production on BPA.
Building & construction
The sector employs over 147 million people and creates more than €512 billion of value added. 80% of polycarbonate use in this sector is for unique applications, for example in improving insulation and lighting.
The EU is a world leader in the development and supply of innovative medical devices. Overall production by the medical devices industry in Europe supports 4.5 million direct jobs and generates value added of € 24 billion. Over 50% of all renal dialysis machines are produced in the EU.
The sector supports over 10 million jobs in Europe and generates value added of € 36 billion. In the European automotive industry, polycarbonate technology is used in a wide range of structural, safety and aesthetic applications.
Electrical & electronics
The sector supports 26 million jobs in Europe and creates more than €139 billion of value added. In the sector, the flame retardance, impact resistance and durability of polycarbonate helps manufacturers meet the need for continuously higher standards of appearance, sustainability and safety.
Boosting the EU’s competitiveness
It may be hard to grasp, but without polycarbonate, many of the products that consumers have come to rely upon would be more difficult to obtain. Industries would struggle to find a suitable alternative component to continue to compete in the marketplace. In more than 80% of the places where polycarbonate is used, it is critical to the performance of the component or material.
For all of the sectors cited above – food contact materials, energy equipment, cars and transportation, construction, medical devices, and electronics – engineers and designers can use polycarbonate to improve and innovate on existing products.
The properties of polycarbonate provide the companies that process polycarbonate and other products with a platform for product innovation. They can develop new products, improve the performance of existing products, meet tougher technical and environmental needs, enhance productivity, and reduce costs.