Case Studies, Discussion & Buyer's Guide # 1972 Southampton
Those materials such as plastics pipes and plastics articles which have a relatively low labour content must inevitably become more economical relative to their conventional rivals as inflation continues, and certainly this is a process which has been shown to be true over the past two years. The trend must continue, and I think whether we like inflation or not it is certainly going to improve the competitive situation of plastic pipes and fittings.
There is a further factor which has arisen in the last year or two, which is that the world has suddenly realised that it is on the way to running out of its raw materials. The price of coal and oil has leapt in the last two years, and the price of natural gas will automatically follow. The usage of energy in the production of plastics pipes - even taking into account the raw materials from which most plastics pipes are made - is much less than is common in the production of most traditional materials. The production of ,conventional pipes is based on smelting, refining, the driving-off of large quantities of water, and often baking or curing at some point in the process. This uses enormous quantities of energy, especially compared with the manufacture of plastics.