Why Recycled Plastic Is The Best Packaging Choice
Sir Richard Attenborough Blames Plastic For Ocean Pollution
Following the release of the Blue Planet Aquarium episode in 2018 that graphically showed the damage pollution was causing to our oceans and sea life, the plastics industry has reacted in a positive way to the criticisms and concerns.
Initially the reaction from the plastics industry was one of disappointment that they seemed to being blamed for all the pollution in the oceans when quite clearly this was an issue with people that are too lazy to dispose of their litter responsibly coupled with inadequate waste disposal facilities.
image:plastic bottle waste on beaches and in oceans
The knee jerk reaction of some major retailers was to state that they would gradually phase out and ban plastics from their stores and had suppliers scurrying around like headless chickens to try and source alternative solutions that could meet this new greener packaging criteria.
The initial buzz words were 'biodegradable and 'compostable' and packaging that would decompose if it was left in the countryside, oceans or refuse tips were pushed forward as alternatives.
The main beneficiaries of the initial propaganda campaign against plastics were cardboard packaging solutions and certainly for the first 12 months following Sir David Attenboroughs dramatic narrative we could see a slowing of our business as these 'environmentally conscious' alternatives were evaluated.
Cardboard Packaging Causes Environmental Concerns
Although cardboard packaging has taken the place of some plastics in the retail sector it is not without its own issues. Generally plastic offers greater protection from damage to products in transit and on display and is lighter to transport than cardboard resulting in less emmissions. Cardboard also requires circa 3 times more energy to produce than plastics (source PAC Worldwide)
Although paper and cardboard is heralded for its biodegradable qualities, in landfill sites paper could not only take as long as plastic to degrade, but unlike plastic, cardboard actually contributes to methane gas emissions.
When you add to this the impact to rainforests of providing the paper industry with wood pulp to turn into paper and cardboard products which then increases harmful carbon dioxide levels and pollutes the oxygen we breathe and fuels global warming then it is clear that cardboard is not the credible solution it was purported to be.
image: Devastation of rainforests due to cardboard requirements
The Plastic Industry fights Back
For past few years the plastic packaging industry has been fighting back and has campaigned for better education and information about recycling coupled with investment into recycling facilities so that plastic can be reused. A 'traffic light system' to phase out less environmentally friendly plastics such as PVC and single use plastics was agreed with retailers and clearer messages on pack to advise consumers how to recycle their packaging was set in motion.
rPET Plastic - The Most Sustainable Packaging Solution?
It is generally accepted that rPET Plastic is the material that ticks most boxes when it comes to the environment as it can be washed and recycled many times over. rPET plastic can be recognised by the number 1 in the triangle and is widely recycled by local authorities and manufacturers involved in the production of plastic packaging.
As part of its new green initiatives the Governement have stipulated that by April 2022 all rPET plastic packaging should have a minimum of 30% recycled content or face high tax levies and this is driving recycling initiatives worldwide. In some poorer countries for instance, people are collecting plastic waste and bringing it to recycling plants in exchange for money or health vouchers. It is clear that recycling plastic is not only helping to clean up the world but is also providing employment and opportunity to many people.
Instead of being dropped into oceans or littered in our countryside rPET plastic like water bottles and food packaging can be granulated and hot washed before being turned into plastic sheet used for making products such as party platters and catering disposables
image: rPET material can hot washed and reused many times over
Caterline is a Manchester based manufacturer of catering disposables and they have worked hard to ensure that their products meet all of the environmental standards required by their customers and any relevant legislation. The Company has invested into its own extrusion and recycling equipment and supplies its products to restaurants, sandwich shops, caterers, corporate events and party planners.
The Caterline sandwich platter range is widely used for all sorts of parties and events such as weddings, birthdays, Christmas functions, Diwali and is the ideal way to protect and display cold food buffets food such as sandwiches,salads, pork pies and sausage rolls, crisps and of course cakes and sweets.
All of the platter bases and lids can be washed and reused many times over and once finished with they are 100% recyclable
- Gary Briscoe