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Socio-economic contribution of polycarbonate in the UK

The UK has no own polycarbonate production and therefore
depends on imports from other countries to supply its UK
industries´ needs of this high performance plastics material.
However, due to its function as enabling technology, almost
98,000 jobs were related to the use of polycarbonate in
the UK in 2010. During the past two decades, the UK´s
polycarbonate consumption grew by about 4% on an
annualized basis. In 2010, the UK consumed about 10% of
the EU production of polycarbonate, thereby generating ca.
5 billion Euro of value added.
Over 90% of the UK´s consumption of polycarbonate is
concentrated in four key economic sectors: the Electrical &
Electronics, Building & Construction, Optical Media and the
Automotive 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 the UK´s
consumption of polycarbonate is used in these unique
applications, creating about 4 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 95,000
jobs related to the manufacturing and sale of end products
are related directly and indirectly to polycarbonate in
unique applications in the UK.
The UK is the principal center of excellence for the
European optical media, music and movies industries,
overall accounting for over 40% of employment. For this
market, optical media such as CD, DVD, Blu-Ray discs is
one of the core enabling technologies. More than 400
companies are engaged in the design of semi-conductors, game consoles and other home entertainment systems,
and in the development of computer games and further
advanced electronic media design.
Production of Electrical & Electronic products is an
important part of the manufacturing sector in the UK.
It supports more than 240,000 jobs and generates an
output of more than 44 billion Euro. Key applications
in this sector using polycarbonate include housings,
electrical infrastructure installations, components and
innovative lighting systems. In the Automotive and Building
& Construction industries in the UK, as an enabling
technology, polycarbonate provides development designers
with the basis for innovation in applications requiring longterm transparency, stability against wear and shatter-proof
combined with light weight, thus providing for safety as well
as energy saving.
In the medical devices area, where the use of polycarbonate
is unique, more than 3,000 small and medium sized
companies generate an output of 18 million Euro.
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 UK 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
Jasmin Bird
Manager Communications
PC/BPA-Group PlasticsEurope
Tel: +32 2 676 1738