Mardi Gras and jazz music may be some of the first things that pop into your mind when you think of New Orleans, but those aren’t the only things associated with the city. New Orleans also has a growing plastic finished goods industry. Below, we’ll take a look at some reasons why that’s the case.

Plastic Resin Costs Less to Make, and New Orleans Is a Well-Equipped Place of Export

Recently, many petrochemical companies have undergone expansions and decided to ramp up production of plastic resin. Supplies are more plentiful than they once were, and export costs have gone down compared to previous years. Since much of the overall expenses of plastic resin is related to production, the easier access and lower costs are favorable developments that drive prices down.

Even better in the case of New Orleans, the city has a bustling port that makes it an ideal place to produce plastic products, then use ships to transport them to their destinations. Houston’s port is the top exporter of plastic resins, but New Orleans held the second-place spot last year. Also, the city’s resin exports increased more than 20-fold between 2006 and 2016.

New Orleans Already Has a Plastics Packaging Plant

Many of the things in your house, from cosmetics containers to the products used to store leftover food, might have initially been made with resins that originated from New Orleans. There’s a distinctive process for creating numerous familiar plastic packages. First, hot materials are poured into mold cavities, and they dry and harden. Supplementary products known as mold release agents ensure the plastic and molds don’t stick to each other.

This way of making plastic containers, lids and similar products can also occur in New Orleans, allowing the city to product plastic finished goods instead of just exporting the resins needed to make them. In 2014, TCI Plastics announced the construction of a 500,000-square-foot plastics plant that made New Orleans more able to handle needs related to packaging and shipping PVC resin and polyethylene. The company is actively hiring and has employment-related targets set through 2020. The presence of TCI Plastics is a direct economic benefit to New Orleans.

Companies associated with New Orleans’ West Bank area have also been exploring ways to expand the city’s distribution and manufacturing network associated with plastic goods. If those efforts are successful, they could help the Louisiana destination distance itself from other cities that are more limited in the ways to distribute materials or products.

New Orleans Can Also Source Plastics for Recycling

Some of today’s top manufacturers that depend on finished goods made of plastics focus on making those items from recycled materials. There is a growing need to practice sustainability and consumers generally have positive views of companies taking part in such practices.

New Orleans was the host city for a conference about recycled plastics this year. People who advocate for the environment say there are ripe opportunities to use materials pulled from the area’s oceans in the plastic finished goods industry. Some companies are already actively working with beach clean-up organizations to get the collected plastics. Eventually, the use of recycled plastics could be something that drives innovation in New Orleans, especially as establishments look at new and better ways to work with recycled materials.

The information here should make it clear why New Orleans is such a well-prepared choice for a city that’s involved in the plastic finished goods industry. Its resources are constantly growing, and it has already proven able to compete with other cities that are making their own contributions to the sector.