From 1964 to 2014 the use of plastics has increased by 20 times from 15 million metric tons to 311 Mt in 2014. The growth of the plastics industry in consumer products is widely viewed as a negative contributor to the environment because of the emission of greenhouse gasses, air, water and land pollution, and depletion of water. These environmental costs have led to arguments that plastics should be replaced with alternative materials, however recent studies from Trucost and the American Chemistry Council modeled the substitution of plastic with alternative materials like paper, steel, aluminum and glass, and the model suggests that a move from plastics may come at an even higher environmental impact.
Have you ever thought about how much plastic products are integrated into your everyday life? If you stop to think about it, chances are you touch something made from plastic every day. For decades plastic materials have helped provide us with products that help us live a clean, healthy and efficient lifestyle and are used in a vast range of products from plastic bottles, cups and plates, to composite furniture and building products, and even in automotive components.
As sustainability concerns continue to remain at the forefront of packaging decisions, particularly in the plastics industry, recycling plays an increasingly important role in the effort to reduce packaging discards and overall solid waste levels - and business and brand owners can help make a difference by setting an example in the workplace. The following is a guest post from our friends at Northern California Compactors, Inc. outlining 5 major benefits plastic recycling can have on our environment:
As sustainability concerns continue to remain at the forefront of packaging decisions, especially in the plastics industry, recycling plays an increasingly important role in the effort to reduce packaging discards and overall solid waste levels. The following is a guest post and infographic from our friends at Perfect Rubber Mulch outlining some of the common myths and misconceptions about recycling:
The recycling bin has become a familiar part of everyday life. Yet you may be surprised to learn that curbside recycling services in the United States are a relatively recent phenomenon. Although it’s impressive that modern society has been able to adapt to such an ecologically responsible practice so quickly, that also means that recycling isn’t always understood as well as it should be by many people. The speed with which recycling has become a part of our daily lives means many people still have questions about the process and its benefits. Unfortunately, this also means a lot of misinformation continues to circulate about recycling.
As sustainability concerns continue to remain at the forefront of packaging discussions, using a recyclable and environmentally conscious packaging material is an essential requirement for many converters and brand owners. However, selecting a material that is recyclable is only half of the battle. While certain plastics materials technically recyclable, research has shown that infrastructure supporting the recycling of certain materials is not widely available to a small portion of the population. So steps to ensure that you are choosing a material that consumers can actively recycle for diversion into other applicatons is an important piece of the puzzle.
To give insight to recycling rates of different plastic materials, since 2009 the plastics division of the American Chemistry Council has commissioned a study on recycling rates in the US. Continue reading to learn more about the findings of the 2015 National Post-Consumer Non-Bottle Rigid Plastic Recycling Report!
When working in the plastic sheet extrusion industry it is not uncommon to hear the objection that plastics are not a sustainable packaging solution. Studies that support this school of thought, however, have previously only focused on the negative impact on the environment, but never compare what a total switch to alternative, 'more sustainable,' materials would mean. With sustainability and green packaging solutions ranking as a primary concern for consumers and brand owners in trend reports from 2016, this begs the question, is the alternative truly better for the environment?