Can Plastic Packaging be Green?

By February 21, 2019Plastic Packaging

Sometimes you might wonder how “green” your plastic packaging really is and how it affects the environment.  Many people automatically assume that anything is better than plastics.  But is it true?

Do we know enough to fully understand the whole process, from beginning to end, to make informed decisions?  My goal is to show you the green side, or the “other side” of plastics below.

What is The Value of Plastics?

What are the lesser-known benefits of plastics, viewed from an environmental perspective?

Plastics is Lightweight compared to most other materials:

  • Plastic packaging is so light that it requires fewer materials to produce. As a result, the manufacturing process utilizes a lot less energy compared to heavier or thicker materials, such as glass.  The benefit is that production leaves a lesser carbon footprint on the environment.
    Custom Plastic Packaging

    a typical green “bubble”

  • Transportation costs are lower, since less fuel is needed to transport lighter materials. Less fuel means a more eco-friendly result.
  • Plastics is lighter but also thinner than most other materials. Since it takes up less warehouse space, it saves on inventory expenses and on valuable energy.

Plastics is Recyclable or Recoverable:

  • Most plastics can be recycled. However, not all plastic packaging is recyclable. More and more recycle facilities are able to break down end-of-life plastics all the way to its molecular level. They then convert it to a valuable energy source.
  • A manufacturing facility can use recycled resins to create something completely different. It takes a lot less energy to produce packaging from recycled materials than creating products from prime resin.  This is just another way to decrease the carbon footprint we leave on our environment.

Worldwide Green Efforts

1. Cleaning Up

Many organizations around the world focus on collecting waste while cleaning up our surroundings.

The Surfrider Foundation, for example, is “a California-based grassroots conservation group, that works to protect coasts and oceans by supporting water quality testing, community partnerships, beach cleanups, and more.”  About the Surfrider Foundation

recycling plastic packaging

2. Recycling or Recovering of Used Plastics

Tossing your plastic trash in a recycling bin is always one of the best things you can do for planet Earth.

As mentioned before, some plastics are not recyclable.  To maintain its value instead of discarding it, a process called depolymerization is most effective. As Green Biz noted, “with depolymerization, you break the plastic down to its original chemical building blocks, known as monomers.”  How this process works: Better Recycling through Chemistry

 

3. Creating a Circular Economy

The concept of a Circular Economy is an economy of recycling, recovering and reusing plastics, over and over again.

In a traditional Linear Economy, plastic packaging gets used and then disposed of.  The mission of WRAP UK is to transition from a Linear Economy to a Circular Economy.   About WRAP and a Circular Economy

Among many others, the American Chemistry Council promotes and supports this concept of a Circular Economy.  Steps to the Transition to a Sustainable Circular Economy

sustainable plastic packaging

4. Changing Plastic Packaging itself

Online shopping platform “Loop” enables consumers to buy their favorite products in durable, not disposable, packaging.

Loop supports the creation of high-end plastic packaging so it can be reused multiple times. Packaging Digest posted an article explaining this concept: Loop and Sustainable High-End Packaging

5. Educating the Public

It is a daunting but important task to educate the general public about how to eliminate and prevent waste,  while building a circular economy for the benefit of us all.

Conclusion

Once we all learn about the other, “more environmentally-friendly side” of plastics, it might change our attitude about the value of plastics.  It will shed light on what we can do to create a sustainable planet. The next step is to take action.

TDI and the Environment

 TDI deeply cares about the world we live in today.  Our goal is to always be as clean and green as possible.

  • TDI can use recycled resin materials for the production of poly packaging.
  • We don’t discard any of our materials; we either reuse or recycle.
  • TDI uses water-based ink only, so no chemical residue is left behind.
  • We are always open to looking for new ways to becoming more green!

TDI joins Operation Clean Sweeprecycle plastic packaging