The first issue of Plastics News hit readers' mailboxes 30 years ago, on March 6, 1989. In planning a special issue to celebrate our anniversary, we noted that our own publishing history has coincided with what we dubbed an Age of Plastics.
Global plastics production has skyrocketed to roughly 400 million metric tons of resin annually, as per-capita consumption has climbed in both developed and developing markets.
You can thank the advantages of plastics for the growth. Compared to other materials, plastics stack up well when you look at key properties including durability, cost and weight. But the industry's success is also the result of the effort of thousands of people — many of them our readers — to get plastics into new applications in every conceivable end market.
The concept behind this issue is to tell that story primarily through data. We've pulled numbers from a variety of sources and tried to put them into a context that will reveal details about the industry that will be interesting even to seasoned veterans.
One thing hasn't changed in 30 years, that's the industry's problem in dealing with end-of-life issues for plastics. In fact, since we conceived of the idea of this Age of Plastics special report, we've seen the same term pop up, often meant derisively, in discussions about ocean plastics, microplastics and bans on single-use products.
Now there's pressure around the world to make plastics part of a truly circular economy. That's an ambitious goal, and one that's sure to change the industry in the next decade.
We've come a long way in 30 years, and I'd like to thank all of our staff — active and former — for their hard work. And a sincere thanks to our loyal readers. We look forward to providing you with the news and information you need for decades to come.