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Socio-economic contribution of polycarbonate in Italy

Polycarbonate is a lightweight, highly versatile, durable, heat and shatter resistant, formable and
transparent thermoplastic. It is the material of choice for a wide range of end-user applications
as diverse as DVDs, spectacles and optical lenses, car headlamps and parts, transparent roofs in
construction, or medical devices.

Italy has no own polycarbonate production and therefore
depends on imports from other countries to supply its Italian
industries´ needs of this high performance plastics material.
However, due to its function as enabling technology, almost
46,000 jobs were related to the use of polycarbonate in Italy
in 2010. During the past two decades, Italy´s polycarbonate
consumption grew by nearly 4% on an annualized basis. In
2010, Italy consumed about 12% of the EU production of
polycarbonate, thereby generating ca. 2.9 billion Euro of
value added.
Over 85% of Italy´s consumption of polycarbonate is
concentrated in four key economic sectors: the Building &
Construction, Electrical & Electronics, the Automotive and
Leisure and Safety industries.

In many of these applications polycarbonate is critical to
transforming the functional characteristics of components
or end uses. This means: Polycarbonate cannot be replaced
by any other material if the same material performance
characteristics are required. Over 80% of Italy´s consumption
of polycarbonate is used in these unique applications,
creating about 2.3 billion Euro of value added.
In these unique applications, outputs are dependent upon
polycarbonate, and so are the working places of the people
producing them: 3,000 jobs in the processing, and 43,000
jobs related to the manufacturing and sale of end products
are related directly and indirectly to polycarbonate in unique
applications in Italy.

Polycarbonate is of particular importance for the Italian designrelated industries. Italy is the world´s leader in lighting. The
Italian production of residential, commercial and industrial
lighting produces an annual output of more than 2.3 billion
Euro – more than 60% of this is exported. Nearly 1,000 small
and medium sized companies in the Italian eyewear industry,
sustaining over 16,000 jobs, generate an annual output of over
2.5 billion Euro with products such as sunglasses, ski goggles,
ophthalmic lenses, frames and safety wear.
Because of its toughness, transparency, temperature stability
and design benefits, polycarbonate is widely used in the
manufacture of domestic appliances. Italy, alongside with
Germany, is one of the leading producers of domestic
appliances in Europe, accounting for 23% of the European
Polycarbonate is a dynamic enabling platform technology for
innovation, thus helping to sustain the UK´s manufacturing base. The competitive position of a significant number of leading
Italian companies depends upon the continued exploitation of
the many and unique properties of polycarbonate. It offers
solutions to modern societies to meet the emerging needs
for lower weight, greater safety and security, lower risks and
improved well-being, while at the same time reducing costs and
improving the product performance.
Jasmin Bird
Manager Communications
PC/BPA-Group PlasticsEurope
Tel: +32 2 676 1738