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Banning Plastic ≠ Environmental Protection, How to Break Plastic Pollution?

Now most of Brand Owner are looking to move away from plastic packaging and explore options that consumers consider more environmentally friendly.

But does avoiding plastic really solve the problem?

In fact,use the right materials, design and disposal methods, plastic can be one of the most environmentally friendly packaging materials available.The solution to plastic pollution is to create a recyclable plastic solution.


Risk of alternative materials:

If you currently use plastic packaging materials, there may be a number of problems from an environmental and practical point of view when you switch to alternatives.

Consumers are clamouring for an end to plastic packaging in shops, which could actually be harmful to the environment,but many of the supposedly greener materials are in fact more damaging.For example, glass can be fully and extensively recycled, it is much heavier than plastic and thus more polluting in terms of transportation and easy to broken.From a practical point of view, changing the way products are packaged can also pose big risks for manufacturers.Even small changes can have a knock-on effect on the production process.What is often overlooked is that we also need to ensure that new materials can be coded reliably and clearly, and that these codes remain constant over the life of the product without affecting the product’s recyclability.

Are you ignoring the benefits of plastic packaging?

If we want to try to understand and solve the problem of plastic, we must analyze the advantages and disadvantages of plastic packaging.

  • Light plastic –Same capacity bottle, plastic lighter than glass bottle more than 85%.This reduces shipping costs and improves customer availability.
  • Plastics are resource efficient — the production of the original plastic consumes about half the energy of the replacement material.Although plastic is a by-product of the oil industry, it consumes only 4% of global oil production.
  • Low cost of plastic production – easy packaging and distribution of products, reducing consumer spending.
  • Plastic is an excellent barrier – packaging food in plastic extends its shelf life during transportation and storage, helping to reduce food waste.

This last point is perhaps the most important considering the merits of plastic packaging.Globally, food waste is responsible for 33 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter after China and the United States.Using very little plastic can help extend the shelf life of fresh food and reduce overall emissions from waste.Studies have shown that just 1.5g plastic packaging can keep cucumbers fresh for 11 days longer and steaks for 10 days longer, while using plastic bags can protect loose produce such as potatoes, cutting waste by up to two thirds.

Plastic packaging is now widely used in global supply chains for food, beverage, household and consumer goods.Applying viable alternatives while continuing to meet consumer needs is an extraordinarily complex task.As a result, demand for plastic continues to grow, and the global amount of plastic waste is likely to increase from 260 million tons in 2016 to 460 million tons in 2030.Correctly addressing this problem requires careful consideration of the design, use, disposal and collection of plastics.The global recycling rate for plastic packaging is extremely low.In 2015, only 20 per cent of all plastic waste was recycled, so we need to take steps to ensure that all waste plastic is collected, collected and reused, rather than allowing it to build up in landfills or in the natural environment.

So how to Creating recyclable plastic solutions?

1.Reduce excessive packaging

Multi-component packaging can lead to recycling challenges, especially when non-recyclable components are tightly bound to recyclable materials, making it difficult for consumers to remove them, which means they pollute the recycling stream.Hard-to-handle components include silicone valves and metal caps on plastic bottles, non-removable film, and labels that cover more than 60 percent of the substrate surface.

2.Use the life cycle method for packaging design

There are other factors more important to product packaging than ease of recycling, including the embedded carbon used to make the original material.To make the best choice, consider a life-cycle approach to packaging design to get the best solution.Many life cycle assessment (LCA) tools and consultancies are available today to help analyze the environmental impact of different packaging options.

3.Increase post-consumption recycling as much as possible

The ultimate goal of a circular economy is to achieve 100% recycling efficiency, but the plastics industry has a long way to go to achieve this goal.Restrictions on the use of PCR in food contact materials, limitations on the physical properties of the recovered polymers, and material contamination during use and recovery are all obstacles to 100% recycling.However, we can add a certain amount of recycled plastic.Increasing PCR content is one of the main ways to demonstrate the brand’s commitment to sustainable plastics.

4.Chooserecyclability materil when you design your project

In theory, all plastic can be recycled.But in practice, very little plastic is actually recyclable because of the limitations of recycling facilities and the problem of separating multiple layers of material.When designing for recyclability, there are three basic rules to follow:

A. Use a single material — Multilayer plastics are difficult to recycle and are not recycled in most home recycling programs.

B. Use natural plastics instead of colored plastics — adding color can affect recycling;Colored plastics also have a lower resale value, making them less attractive to commercial recycling services.

C. Use widely recycled materials, such as PET, polyethylene, and polypropylene, and avoid materials with low recovery rates, such as polystyrene, PVC, and ABS.Creating a pure recyclable plastic waste stream will improve the overall quality of PCR, allowing companies to use a higher percentage of PCR in new products.Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemical and a packaging material manufacturer have developed a plastic bag that degrades completely in seawater in just one year, contributing to the reduction of plastic waste in the ocean.

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