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The Advantages of Plastic

Plastics have become integral to our lives and to modern society. Our standard of living would be far poorer without new developments in plastics. Dramatic leaps have been made in consumer products, packaging, agriculture, construction, furniture, health care, telecoms and information technology over the last century. Many of which would not have been possible were it not for the invention and evolution of plastics.

Despite all of this, plastic has found itself with a bad reputation. Many UK consumers see the reduction in packaging as one of the top three environmental issues currently. However, this is far from the truth. Plastic packaging is not among the top 10 materials in household residual waste and packaging as a whole is only responsible for less than 3% of waste sent to landfill.

Being green is becoming increasingly important. Alasdair James of Tesco says, “‘British consumers rank the environment as their top priority after price and convenience”.

In multi-media, our products are at the forefront of environmentally friendly packaging. All of our products are 100% recyclable and our BioBox is even biodegradable. Our Red Tag system is re-used 100’s of times by retailers and has saved countless amounts of wasted materials by replacing alternative security systems.

Even when plastics cannot be recycled, it is still possible to burn them and create energy. The chart below shows the proportions of energy created by incinerating plastics (Polyolefins) as well as alternative materials.

Plastic & Cardboard

Many people see cardboard packaging as a positive alternative to plastic. However, this is not the case. Not only is cardboard packaging less durable than plastic but when cardboard is sent to landfill it slowly degrades, breaking down into the greenhouse gas methane and other compounds.

Recycling cardboard can be just as hazardous to the environment. The process involves large amounts of water and energy to remove ink and materials that create a glossy finish. In addition the annual production of paper releases 212million tonnes of hazardous chemicals into the air and water of our planet.

Amaray media boxes, however, are 100% recyclable (including the film inlay sleeve), the process of recycling is easier and far more energy efficient. Our DVD boxes (which are made from PP) can be recycled time and time again and result in an energy saving of 90%. Paper, on the other hand, can only be recycled a maximum of 7 times. Also, making plastics from recycled material uses 70% less energy than manufacturing from fossil fuels.

Less is More..

Reducing the weight of packaging for all products is a key for both the businesses involved and for the environment. As a general rule the heavier the product the more energy required to produce it.

Plastic packaging has greater strength than other alternatives and uses less material. This cuts the cost of production, transportation and cost to the customer. It is also more eco-friendly, providing a strong, reusable material for a lesser amount of the earths resources. This makes plastic the perfect choice for almost all packaging needs.

In fact, the entire plastics industry only consumes 4% of the annual oil supply whereas transportation fuels consume over half and this is set to expand. Where plastics can be recycled and used as practical solutions to modern life, vehicle fuel, once burnt, cannot be recovered. It also releases harmful gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. There are little or no alternatives to using plastics for many of their applications and if all plastics were substituted with a mix of alternative materials 22.4 million additional tonnes of crude oil would be required each year.

For more information regarding the services United Source Packaging has to offer and how we can help you and your business succeed.