Environmental Sustainability Strategies for Plastic Packaging Manufacturers

10 March 2020
 Categories: , Blog

There are several reasons plastic is the go-to packaging material for most businesses. Not only is it cheap, but it is also convenient and lightweight. Unfortunately, plastic packaging manufacturers have had to deal with numerous misconceptions, especially regarding environmental sustainability. This has affected the plastic packaging market. Nonetheless, plastic packaging manufacturers continue to take strategic measures to dispute some of these misconceptions. This article highlights strategies that will contribute to plastic packaging manufacturers' environmental sustainability goals.

Cradle-To-Cradle Approach — Manufacturers must monitor the sourcing, production, distribution and disposing of plastic packaging after use. This is referred to as the cradle-to-cradle approach because a manufacturer's input remains important during the entire lifecycle of all plastic packaging produced. However, since some raw materials lose their quality after re-use or recycling, manufacturers should avoid using such inputs in their operations because they pose a danger to the environment. Notably, manufacturers must only source raw materials that ensure plastic packaging can be re-used and recycled multiple times without losing the intrinsic value. Most importantly, the cradle-to-cradle approach ensures plastic packaging manufacturers only produce packaging that can go through several recycling stages without losing value.

Bio-Sourcing Polymers — The polymers used in the manufacture of plastic packaging come from petroleum sources, and the procedure is economical to manufacturers. However, plastic manufacturers believe that bio-sourcing polymers is the best strategy for environmental preservation. This is because standard plastic polymers, such as ethylene and ethylene glycol, can be sourced from natural resources. While bio-sourcing plastic packaging polymers is expensive currently, plastic packaging manufacturers agree that end-users will not mind paying the extra for plastic packaging that preserves the environment.  

Redesign for Single-Use Packaging — Single-use plastic packaging has been a problem for plastic packaging manufacturers because it is difficult to re-use or recycle. As such, most of it ends up in landfills. A good example is the traditional plastic packaging of beer cans. Once the plastic comes off, there is no way the end-user can recycle or re-use it. Therefore, plastic packaging manufacturers have employed redesign strategies that have seen them change the form of beer can plastic packaging. Instead of plastic shrink-wrap for a pack of beer cans, manufacturers have come up with an innovative idea called the 'six-pack ring.' This design fits into the necks of beer cans and features two holes for comfortable carrying. The best part is that the cans snap out of the packaging with ease, leaving it intact and reusable with other cans for future outdoor trips.