Plastics is the term commonly used to describe a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic materials that are used in a huge and growing range of applications. Everywhere you look, you will find plastics. We use plastic products to help make our lives cleaner, easier, safer and more enjoyable. We find plastics in the clothes we wear, the houses we live in, and the cars we travel in. The toys we play with, the televisions we watch, the computers we use and the DVDs we watch all contain plastics.
Plastics are organic materials, just like wood, paper or wool. The raw materials used to produce plastics are natural products such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, salt and, of course, crude oil. Plastics have become the modern material of choice because they make it possible to balance today's needs with environmental concerns.
The term plastic is derived from the Greek word ''plastikos'', meaning fit for moulding. This refers to the material's malleability, or plasticity during manufacture, which allows it to be cast, pressed, or extruded into a variety of shapes - such as films, fibres, plates, tubes, bottles, boxes, and much more.