In many discussions either with potential clients or with stakeholders in our industry, the team of experts from Logistic Packaging encountered a growing concern about the safety and sustainability of reusable plastic packaging. This attitude is most likely connected with the global fight against plastic pollution. By extrapolation, professional packaging materials are unjustly placed in the same category as plastic bags or plastic straws for drinks.
Reusable Plastic Packaging Have Little in Common with Single Use Plastic Products
The most vigilant and informed environmental activists can tell you one thing: they never picked up a single plastic pallet or rigid large container during their cleanup activities. The cause of pollution cannot be found in the professional packaging industry. It is solely restricted to mass produced consumer products for single use.
The most dangerous types of plastics blamed for growing pollution and health problems are not found in reusable plastic packaging. These dangerous plastics are the cheapest ones and this is why they are used for disposable items like plastic plates and cutlery.
Professional packages are made of high quality materials, resistant to intense use over a long period of time. Plastic packages are meant to be used for years, not for a few days or only once.
The Actual Role of Plastic Packaging Materials: To Reduce Wastes and Pollution
If you are a constant reader of our Knowledge Base article, you may have noticed that we insist on the sustainable nature of reusable plastic packages. Apart from offering companies a cost effective and reliable solution for the storage and shipment of their products, plastic packages help these companies respect their eco-friendly commitments.
A great proportion of reusable plastic packages on the market are made of recycled materials. Even those who are made from virgin raw materials are recyclable. By comparison to other packages – made of wood, metal or cardboard – professional plastic packages use up fewer natural resources and generate less waste.
The Numbers Are In: What Is the True Environmental Impact of Plastic Packages?
The information we will present below is based on an extensive and detailed report concerning reusable plastic packaging in the USA and Canada. The numbers refer to the total quantity of packages used in these highly developed countries, with an intense trade and a very large numbers of large, medium sized and small companies.
These are the findings of the experts that studied the sustainability and environmental impact of plastic packages versus other types of reusable packaging materials.
1. Energy Used for Manufacturing the Packaging
Plastic packages, made of both virgin and recycled materials, consume significantly less energy than other materials. If all the reusable packaging materials on the market were made from plastic, the energy thus saved would be sufficient to fuel 18 million personal cars.
To put things into perspective, if every citizen in Finland, Denmark and Norway had a car, they could get one tank full of fuel for free. Imagine the energy savings at global level if reusable plastic packaging materials became the standard, if these numbers are related solely to North America!
2. Greenhouse Gas Released in the Atmosphere
The metallurgic industry (producer of metallic packages) is one of the biggest generators of greenhouse gas. As you may already known, this type of pollution is linked both to the occurrence of holes in the ozone layer and with the growing global temperatures from year to year.
What you don’t know is that manufacturing reusable plastic packages generates a significantly smaller quantity of greenhouse gas – the equivalent of taking 8.5 million personal cars off the road. This is the number of cars recalled by Volkswagen from all over Europe after the Dieselgate emissions scandal.
3. Water Consumption
Water is a very precious resource and we must do everything we can to preserve it and reduce waste. However, this is one of the most frequently used resources in manufacturing many types of packages
By comparison, the plastic packaging industry in North America saved enough water to fill up over 460,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. By a simple calculation, this means 1.15 cubic kilometers of water, quite enough to supply all the households in London for more than two years and a half!
4. Acidification of the Soil
Many chemicals resulting from manufacturing processes return on earth in the form of acid raid. The acidification of the soil is a serious problem, because it affects both animals and plants. Thus, crops fail and livestock decreases in number deepening the already stringent issue of providing food for the entire population.
Compared to other types of packaging manufacturing, the plastic packaging industry prevents the acidification potential of nearly 300,000 railcars of coal.
5. Solid Waste Generation
Reusable plastic packages have a long life cycle, compared to other packages. And, as we mentioned before, the vast majority of these items are recyclable. Thus, the use of plastic packages saves the weight of 290,000 jumbo jets worth of waste in North America alone, compared to other packaging materials.
At Logistic Packaging, we are committed to use resources responsibly and provide you with the best reusable packaging materials. Send us an email or schedule a live Skype call with us to discuss your projects!