Sustainability Alert! Pioneering innovations in the plastics industry

We love innovation. And, when pioneering innovation in the plastics industry is combined with sustaining our environment we like our jobs even more!

At Plas-Pak we understand that we have a role to play in the sustainability of our earth. It impacts every aspect of our service. Consequently, the new trend of establishing a path to zero waste is one that we are following with keen interest.

Recently Teresa Clark published a work titled Plastics: Establishing The Path To Zero Waste – A pragmatic approach to sustainable management of plastic materials. It was the part about Mimicking nature with bio-degradable plastics that had us paying attention. (You can download the PDF document at http://www.ensoplastics.com/download/Plastics_EstablishingthePathtoZeroWaste.pdf.)

For nature to process plastic through bio-degradation, the molecules of the plastics created must not be changed in such a way that it cannot integrate back into nature.

Ninety percent of plastics end up in landfills

We have a responsibility to work towards creating synthetic materials that we know will return to nature in a usable form[1] if we want to ensure that the plastics that end up in landfills can decompose.

Plas-Pak signed the Australian Packaging Covenant which aims to reduce the plastics and cardboard that end up in landfills. 

At the moment up to ninety percent of plastics are disposed of at landfills. The conditions at landfill sites are not conducive to degrading plastics in their current form. The little oxygen, lack of light, reduced moisture and pressure that the materials are under make biodegradation difficult to achieve.

For plastics to bio-degrade at landfill sites, you have to take the limiting factors mentioned in the previous paragraph into account during the manufacturing processes.

This is why the next innovation has caught our eye.

At the IBM research facility in Almaden, San Jose, California, researchers have claimed that palm trees and beets could be used to make everyday consumer plastic ware[2].

Currently, heavy metals are imparted into the process of converting plants into biodegradable plastics. These heavy metals do not decompose. The researchers have however started using a new organic substance that lowered the energy required to convert plants to plastic, and this ingredient can degrade back into the environment.

This is a cheaper process than the current one and contributes to the decomposing of plastics that do end up in the landfills.

Plas-Pak uses Solar Power

We are always investigating ways that we can help our environment, and while we like to stay on top of new research, we have already taken the lead and implemented our solar power vision at our premises.

This also reduced the impact on the environment in that we are using a natural and renewable energy source as part of our production. Plas-Pak has one of the largest carbon footprint reductions amongst plastic manufacturers in the Southern Hemisphere.

[1] Plastics: Establishing The Path To Zero Waste – A pragmatic approach to sustainable management of plastic, p. 84

[2]http://www.plasticsnewseurope.com/article/20160817/PNE/160819849/ibm-scientists-discover-chemical-catalyst-for-cheaper-biodegradable