Commitment for the Future

In a recent interview, the NGO C2C called for breaking with old patterns and discovering new ground for achieving real progress in the circular economy. This is especially true on the path towards a climate-neutral world. The plastics industry is tackling both challenges and pathing the way!

Green energy

Over the past decades, plastics have led to ever new products and applications, fuelling technological progress like no other material. This has long included highly efficient solutions for the generation of green energy: whether photovoltaic cells on wafer-thin plastic films that adapt to any shape or increasingly resistant rotor blades on wind turbines: plastics are irreplaceable for the success of the energy transition.

Art and Plastics

Art and plastics belong together. The wide range of possibilities offered by plastics allows artists of every discipline to realize their ideas in a variety of ways. Painters, set designers, designers, they all rely on plastics.

Thought in circle

Increasing environmental pollution and socio-political debates are bringing the topic of recycling plastics more into focus. The fact is: Linear production processes still dominate plastics manufacturing, for example in short-lived products such as packaging. How can such plastics be better recycled? Various paths lead to the goal here and range from already established processes such as mechanical recycling to chemical recycling, in which plastic products are broken down back into their basic components after use.


For some people, it is still somewhat suspicious, while others cannot get enough of it: we are talking about the digital world, which is pervading more and more areas of daily life. And plastics are playing an important role in this development. Cables, plugs, and plug-in connectors, as well as further electrical components made of plastics make sure that we stay connected – to people, our jobs, and at school.

Plastics for Climate Protection

Plastics make cars lighter and safer, keep food fresh longer and are indispensable in medicine in the form of syringes and needles. And more than this, plastics are often more sustainable than other materials since they are lighter, more durable and more efficient. In short: we can no longer imagine our modern lives without plastics.

Game. Set. Match.

Plastics have revolutionised sport over the last decades – at all levels: from stadiums and running tracks, where athletes are striving for new records, down to shoes, clothing, and safety equipment – modern sports rely on plastics. And whether it be for water sports, football, mountain biking, tennis, skiing, or golf: the sport articles used nowadays have changed radically and, thanks to plastics, have become lighter, more resilient and more flexible.

Sustainable building

Curved facades or customised insulation for different construction elements: plastics make it possible and architects’ dreams come true. It is not without reason that the building and construction industry is one of the most important application of plastics in Germany after the packaging industry. Traditionally, the material is used from the cellar to the roof: for example, for floorings, windows, pipes or for thermal insulation and sealing. This makes it an important contributor to the energy transition in Germany. And plastics are also much appreciated for giving buildings a special radiance – for example, the Allianz Arena in Munich with its uniquely playful, luminous shell.

Beautify your home

First came the panic buyings and some food and toiletries became scarce. This was followed by so-called cocooning in connection with the corona-related longer stay within one’s own four walls and in the garden at home. Finally, learning and working during the lockdown shifted more and more to the home. How good that plastics provide a livable environment.

Fighting hunger and thirst

According to the UN, almost 700 million people around the globe do not have enough to eat – about nine percent of the world population. The climate change and now also the COVID-19 pandemic are further aggravating the malnutrition in many regions. In contrast, water resources and fertile soil are limited. However, plastics can produce relief by contributing to increase the efficiency of agricultural production and improve the quality of agricultural products; and by enabling the access to clean drinking water in many ways.

Helping and healing

Medical engineering increasingly relies on plastics when it comes to implants and applications inside the human body. For this purpose, molecular research meanwhile designs targeted plastics with manifold characteristics. This sets new standards in the application and manufacturing of such medical products.


With their versatile properties and numerous possible applications, polymers are already making our vehicles more efficient and safer, more comfortable and more beautiful – and tomorrow’s mobility possible in the first place. Plastics make their contribution from the roof to under the hood – and of course not only in cars, but also in trains, buses and airplanes.


In times of Coronavirus, plastics prove once again their importance for our lives. Without the usage of plastics, there would be no viable way to cope with the current pandemic. But let’s be a bit more specific: Which applications are we actually talking about when highlighting the material’s contributions against COVID-19?


Very light and robust, highly moldable, particularly sustainable – various good properties make plastics the material of choice. Discovered 100 years ago, the possibilities are far from exhausted – especially when it comes to recycling this valuable material. A wide range of successful approaches exists already.

Industries & areas of life

Whether in the car, on the laptop or in our own four walls: Plastics accompany us at every turn. They provide innovations, make life safer, healthier, more comfortable and more environmentally friendly in many important areas – and have done so for 100 years.

Sustainable production

Producing plastics requires a lot of energy and raw materials like crude oil. However, this releases greenhouse gases. The German plastics industry wants to tackle this problem and intends achieve a climate-neutral production by 2050. The ideas and technologies necessary for reaching this goal have been developed already.

100 years of plastics

Unlimited possibilities for the future


They make cars lighter and more economical. They make for handy smartphones and comfortable living. They help in medicine and keep food fresh: plastics.

The success story of this versatile material began 100 years ago – when the German scientist and Nobel Prize winner Hermann Staudinger launched macromolecular chemistry with a groundbreaking paper. In the meantime, there are many different types of plastics with very different properties for practically any aspect of life. And researchers and manufacturers are opening up ever more possible uses – especially to meet major challenges such as urbanisation, feeding the world’s growing population and combating climate change. In short: plastics are indispensable for shaping a sustainable future worth living.

Science and industry have made it their mission to make Staudinger’s legacy fit for the future – read here how plastics make life better and sustainable.


100 years of plastics

Unlimited possibilities for the future – month after month

With the publication of a research article in 1920, Hermann Staudinger laid the foundation of modern polymer science. By then, no one imagined the success story it would trigger: Plastics have long since made our everyday lives easier, promoted medical progress and are important enabler for renewable energies. Until the end of 2021, the Macromolecular Chemistry Division of the Association of German Chemists (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker e. V.), PlasticsEurope Deutschland e. V. and several plastics manufacturers will be presenting exciting areas of application for the material.

In the light of the new findings of macromolecular chemistry, the miracle of life reveals its chemical side”

Hermann Staudinger

(* 1881; † 1965), founder of macromolecular chemistry

Foto: GDCh/Foto-Atelier TiTa Binz, Mannheim