Can the plastic manufacturing industry ever be totally sustainable?
In the past, the straight answer would have been no. However, researchers and plastic manufacturers are now developing more ways to propel towards a world where plastic might be totally sustainable.
There are now methods and protocols put in place by many plastic manufacturers to push their business towards an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative that many never thought possible.
The idea sounds too good to be true, right? It is understandable why you might think that, so we thought we would share some knowledge that might give you a more optimistic view of the plastic industry and the future of our planet.
With each day, there is more hope, and we firmly believe in a world where plastic manufacturing can be totally sustainable. We are going to talk you through some of the methods that plastic manufacturers are using.
- Developing sustainable plastics – This is one of the biggest challenges yet. Creating plastic by reducing the use of fossil fuels and still maintaining the characteristics that make plastic useful is tough. Fossil fuel-based polymer material is damaging to the environment in multiple ways: fossil fuels are highly unsustainable, take up massive space in landfills, and often find their way into the natural world, contaminating soil and water across the globe. Now, there is bioplastic, a sustainable alternative created from renewable biomass sources such as corn starch, straw, sugarcane and vegetable fats and oils. These plastics are carbon neutral and compostable and will break down in just a few months, meaning that no microplastics are released into the world to harm humans or animals.
- Optimising manufacturing – Factory processes often require a lot of energy to run. This leads to both enormous energy costs and carbon emissions being pumped into the atmosphere. Plastic manufacturers everywhere are working on ways towards a more sustainable approach. They are now using machines that will automatically turn off when they are not in use, thus using far less energy than before. Plastic manufacturers are also moving from hydraulic to electric machinery, which can improve energy efficiency by 80%. Smarter machinery is also being developed that collects analytical data to measure the machine’s efficiency, which helps identify any potential overuse of energy. Regular maintenance is also being carried out because a well-maintained machine will work much more energy-efficiently. Factories aren’t just concerned about their machines either. They are working on reducing the energy outage in any way they can, even down to office heating and using automated LED toilet lights.
- Preventing plastic waste – The awareness of problems concerning plastic waste is widespread. We are gaining more knowledge every day on the impact that it is having on the environment as well as health implications for humans and animals. Reducing this is crucial, so plastic manufacturers have been implementing plans to move to a sustainable future. Focusing on the three R’s that most people are aware of, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, manufacturers are moving from a linear to a circular economy. Materials are now being tracked more than ever to help reduce the factory process’s waste. Raw materials are being reused to ensure none are thrown away, meaning less impact on the environment. Finally, manufacturers are introducing end-of-life recycling plans to both customers and shop floor policies in the hopes that the plastic can be recycled again and again. There is much attention being paid to detail in the plastic world; even the packaging is becoming more reusable and recyclable than ever.
The list of methods being implemented across the globe to create a greener future in the plastic industry is bigger and more important than ever. Everywhere we are seeing positive changes and hoping that plastic manufacturers will be totally sustainable one day.
What has Plas-Pak done so far
We have a responsibility to our environment, and our business is moving towards a future where we can minimise damage to the environment and be fully sustainable. Here are some of the great ways we have been reducing the impact on our environment.
- Using and manufacturing fully recyclable products. We firmly believe in this, and even down to our packaging, we aim to produce everything with the right attributes to be collected, sorted, and recycled throughout the world.
- Everyone at Plas-Pak has a shared goal of reducing landfill waste to zero. A tremendous amount of effort has been put in to improve the sustainability of our operations. We work tirelessly to ensure there are no waste products, and our efforts have not gone unnoticed. Waste has substantially subsided at Plas-Pak, and we are proud of this achievement.
- In 2016, we successfully installed a 100kW solar PV and energy monitoring system to give us renewable energy. This has significantly changed our company by dramatically reducing our carbon footprint.
Keep moving forward to a greener future.
Hopefully, this article has been able to answer some of those burning questions. The plastic world may be shaded with a dark past, but it is now time to start looking towards a brighter future. With more green initiatives being developed and perfected every year, plastic manufacturers will not stop until they are satisfied with a highly sustainable and environmentally friendly product. Armed with new knowledge, we are able to prioritise the reduction of carbon emissions, toxic by-products, and the use of fossil fuels more than ever. If you want to see how plastic manufacturers are becoming greener or see some fantastic recyclable plastic products, check out Plas-Pak. We pride ourselves on our greener goals and will help create a future where the plastic manufacturing industry can be totally sustainable.