[ID] => 10385
[post_author] => 5714
[post_date] => 2018-12-03 13:09:40
[post_date_gmt] => 2018-12-03 13:09:40
[post_content] => Plastics and industrial packaging have gone hand-in-hand for decades; plastics drums in particular are one of the major packagings for a wide range of liquid and solid chemicals. Recently, though, the use of plastics is coming under greater scrutiny due to the environmental impact that it has, not least in terms of ocean pollution, and many companies are now looking for more sustainable alternatives.
Statistics suggest that as much as one-third of plastics packaging escapes collection systems, and the environmental impact of this waste is generating headlines – even if most of the plastics waste that reaches the oceans stems from informal disposal of used plastics in Asia. However, there is also atmospheric pollution to take into account: the cost associated with greenhouse gas emissions resulting from plastics production is estimated at $40bn annually.
But those in the business of producing plastics packaging for industrial users believe it necessary to look at the bigger picture: plastics bring numerous benefits and are often less damaging to the environment than alternatives.
A BETTER WORLD
Plastic packaging is versatile, strong and stable. Its comparative light weight simplifies handling throughout the production chain and results in lower greenhouse emissions during transport, ultimately contributing to a lower carbon footprint. A common polymer used in industrial packaging is polypropene, a material that can be reused several times without leaving toxic residue. However, big problems arise from waste, overconsumption and overproduction, which are external factors that would have undesirable effects on the environment with any form of industrial packaging.
According to Phil Pease, CEO of the Industrial Packaging Association (IPA), the traditional environmental hierarchy has always been: reduce, reuse, recycle and recover, with disposal being the unwanted last resort. However, following a detailed review of this hierarchy by the International Standards Organisation’s (ISO) committee on packaging and environment, it was agreed that both safety and life-cycle performance must play a core role in environmental considerations and, rather than simply ‘reduce’ the volume of packaging materials, it is more appropriate to optimise the design.
“We also see a number of plastics packaging now incorporating use of recycled materials through multi-layer design as well as within components and service equipment,” says Pease. “This is an important response and solution to the problems facing end-user markets for recycled materials.” While recycling is, of course, a worthwhile service to recover the packaging materials, it is energy-intensive, so the more times any container can be reconditioned, repaired and reused, the less energy is used and the carbon footprint can be reduced.
It is clear that in order to reduce the impact that plastics production has on the environment, plastics manufacturers, alongside end users, need to adopt strategies to reduce their CO2 footprint and become more sustainable. However, plastics are not the enemy. There is no doubt that there is a long way to go before mankind reduces its overall energy consumption but the use of plastics is a great step in that direction - if they are used properly.
[post_title] => Plastics: Friend or foe?
[post_status] => publish
[comment_status] => open
[ping_status] => open
[post_name] => plastics-friend-or-foe
[post_modified] => 2018-12-03 13:12:27
[post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-03 13:12:27
[post_parent] => 0
[guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=10385
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Plastics: Friend or foe?
// By Sam Hearne on 3 Dec 2018
Growing concern over plastics pollution is already impacting consumer packaging, but industrial packaging is a different business altogether