Is Plastic Recycling the Answer?
It is difficult to avoid plastic when shopping. Even with the best intentions, there are many products stocked or delivered in plastic packaging. The great news is that packaging labels inform us of which plastics can be recycled. This means we can do our bit to put them in the correct bin and ensure they are reused. So, is plastic recycling the answer to managing waste and reducing environmental impact?
UK Plastic Recycling Projects
A year ago, Plaswood Lumber in Dumfries recycled a million Happy Meal toys to create the first of 15 planned play parks. Located at Ronald McDonald House in Oxford, the play equipment is being enjoyed by children enjoying respite care following hospital treatment. It is undoubtedly a worthy way to recycle plastic. The question is, do we need plastic toys in kids lunch packs?
Mercers, a company in Bolton has developed a process to turn plastic packaging waste into a damp proof membrane. They can transform 50,000 tonnes of plastic waste into a viable construction material every year. The process shreds, heats, filters and moulds ethylene plastics, giving them a new purpose.
Work is currently underway by Mura to build a plastic recycling plant in Teeside. Mura has developed a process where 80,000 tonnes of previously unrecyclable plastic can be repurposed every year. This will increase the UK’s capacity to better manage its waste.
Recycling: The Tip of the Iceberg
These recycling projects are important and effective, so why has Boris Johnson claimed that recycling plastic is not the answer? In a pre-COP26 children’s conference, the Prime Minister said that a dramatic reduction of plastic at source was needed to address the environmental issue.
He clarified that recycling was preferable to sending plastic to landfill, but that we all need to become less reliant on plastic packaging and products. The projects mentioned above and others like them are making a difference, yet we need to get things into perspective. When 2.4million tonnes of plastic is produced in the UK every year, (380 million tonnes worldwide), this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Around 45% of UK plastics are currently recycled and only 10% in the UK. The rest is shipped aboard for other countries to deal with. You can read more about this on the WRAP website.
Alternatives to Plastic Packaging
The majority of liquids are sold in single-use plastic packaging, so what are the alternatives?
– Frugal Pac – a paper-based bottle and cup solution
– Glass Bottles – can be recycled time and time again
– Reusable Bottles – refill stations are appearing in more shops, so the same bottle can be reused
Bubble wrap and Plastic Air Pockets protect e-commerce goods in transit, what’s the alternative?
– Bespoke boxes, designed to fit the product so no fillers are required
– Cardboard inserts, shredded cardboard, scrunched up kraft paper and other paper products
– Biodegradable nuggets, WoolCool® thermal liners and even straw!
Plastic food packaging helps keep produce fresh, what are the alternatives?
– Dual Ovenable cartonboard is a biodegradable solution for ready meals that need heating up
– Moulded paper pulp, paper bags, biodegradable film and Bagasse (sugarcane by-product)
– Cardboard trays are replacing polystyrene take away packaging
These are just a selection of the sustainable packaging options which are available on the market.
Cardboard Packaging Supplier UK
As a specialist manufacturer of cardboard packaging, Aylesbury Box Company has assisted producers, retailers and e-commerce businesses to discover viable alternatives to plastic packaging. If you would like to find out more, get in touch with our friendly team on 01296 436888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The majority of the population are concerned about plastic waste. They are looking to Governments, manufacturers and retailers to help them reduce plastic purchases. They are actively seeking out brands that use sustainable packaging. Is your company leading by example and reducing or removing plastic from your products and packaging?