The History of Plastics and Packaging

The history of plastic is both long and interesting. In fact, in today’s world, we consume more plastic goods than ever before. Because of this, the plastic industry is continuing to grow at a steady pace.

In this article, we take a step back in time and learn more about the history of plastics and packaging.

Where it All Began

Plastic was first discovered in the 18th Century by Frenchman Charles-Marie de La Condamine. During and exploration of the Amazon Basin, he came across a rubber tree. Despite this revelation, it wasn’t until 1862 when the first man-made plastic was unveiled by Alexander Parkes. Known as Parkesine, it was an organic material derived from cellulose.

In 1907, Leo Hendrik Baekeland invented the first fully synthetic resin using phenol-formaldehyde. From this invention, Bakelite was created.

A World of Plastic

We are surrounded by so many plastic products that we probably don’t even realise how common it is. Plastic has a range of useful applications that saw it adopted across a wide range of products.

Some of the more common examples include:

  • Rubbish bags
  • Water bottles
  • Drinking cups
  • Food wrapping and containers
  • Storage boxes
  • Liquid containers (dishwashing, laundry detergent, cleaning products)

The list is never ending, but it is amazing just how much plastic we consume as a population. However, there are some products that you may be surprised to find are also made from plastic or a by-product of it. These include:

  • Computers
  • Clothing (nylon, polyester and spandex are all derived from plastic)
  • Tennis balls
  • Golf balls
  • Billiard balls
  • Gym tiles
  • Mobile phones

It is amazing just how much plastic we are surrounded by, and we don’t even realise it. If you are curious to see how far this goes, put this to the test next time you go out. Take a look around and try to see how many plastic items you can find!


Over time, the demand for plastic packaging has seen the industry become a global exporting powerhouse. Packaging is an advertising executive’s dream client. The global market for plastic is enormous, and if an agency can successfully sell a campaign to that business, it has the potential to be seen on products all around the world.

Packaging comes in all shapes and forms. It is a necessity that we as a society have grown accustomed to.

Where to Now?

As a global manufacturing giant, the plastics industry will continue to grow at a steady pace. In fact, the last 5 years has seen the industry grow by 0.1% a year. Although that might not seem like a lot, the industry is worth billions of dollars annually.

Since plastic is part of our future, there is a need to ensure it won’t impact on the environment. Some innovators are making plastics more sustainable by developing bioplastics. These are made from plant crops instead of fossil fuels. This means they are easier to break down and they won’t emit any carbon footprint.

As a leading plastics manufacturer and supplier, we are on the cutting edge of plastic products. You are sure to find what you need with us. To learn more about the future of plastic products for your industry, contact Dolphin Plastics & Packaging today on (07) 5493 4133. We can customise quality film and other plastic products to meet high demands and strict requirements.