More than 25 million tons of plastic packaging is sold in the US every year, less than five percent gets recycled. Although plastic packaging is not always recyclable it is lightweight and thus, reduces transportation emissions when product is distributed. Changes are slowly being made in the plastics industry to help reduce waste, improve recycled content and use of materials.
A company called SmartCycle processes recycled content from beverage bottles to make packaging for food, box or thermoformed applications. Through creating a use for recycled bottles, the company is able to support recycling efforts while utilizing energy-saving manufacturing process.
Of course, reducing plastic materials altogether in packaging is ideal but not necessarily feasible for some manufacturers. If plastics packaging must be used it is important to choose plastics that can easily be recycled, such as resin numbers 1, 2 and 5. Or utilize plastic packaging that uses recycled-content. And finally, consider reducing the amount of plastic content used in the packaging as the bottled water industry started to do back in 2011.
For more information about sustainable packaging and other eco-friendly trends for your business please contact us.
There has been a lot written about plastic lately. Not only is it harmful to the environment but overwhelming studies are finding plastic harmful to your health. Consider these facts;
Plastics production produces 14 percent of toxic air emissions in the U.S., and each plant emits an average of 300-500 gallons of contaminated wastewater per minute. (It’s Easy Being Green book)
100 million plastic bottles dumped in US every year. Each bottle will take over 1,000 years to biodegrade. (SIGG)
BPA (a plastic hardening agent prevalent in bottles, cups and lined tin cans) is so prevalent in food packaging and other consumer items that prior research has detected its presence in at least 90% of Americans. A group of 20 San Francisco residents had 66% less BPA in their urine after three days on a diet of fresh, organic and unpackaged food, scientists found. (Silent Spring Institute)
500 billion plastic bags or wraps are thrown away in America each year and are created with 12 million barrels of oil. (DropthePlasticBag.org)
Find out the facts about plastic for yourself with these resources;
Plastic Disclosure is a great website that offers facts and information about the harmful effects of plastic.
GreenBiz released this article a few weeks ago about the plastic use in corporations.
New York Times released this article on the issue of plastic and waste
If you want a more lighthearted approach, view the movie Bag It, that was released early in 2011. It discusses all the issues with plastic. For a review, go to this blog entry.
Plastic bags are just a mess for the environment. Worldwide there are now 500 billion plastic bags used annually. If you haven’t seen the big plastic patch in the ocean, then watch Great pacific garbage Patch. Unfortunately, these bags are petroleum based and don’t seem to break down in our landfills or water causing major toxins and pollution issues. Be in the forefront and refrain from using plastic bags in your business.
Here are some options;
Bring Your Own: Ask your customers to bring their own bags. Better yet, create a promotional re-useable bag and sell it.
Offer Compostable Bags: Consider purchasing and using compostable bags. Roplast Industries and BioBags both make good compostable plastic-type bags.
Offer Recycling: In the interim, offer recycling containers and disposal for the plastic bags. They need to be clean and dry and usually #2 or #4 plastic which most of the regular plastic shopping bags are made from. There is an organization called Plastic Bag Recycling that provides a system and container to help businesses recycle plastic bags.