As we turn the page on a new decade, there’s one pressing issue on everyone’s mind – sustainability. Everyone, including Caps and Closures and the plastic industry in general, is searching for ways to reduce their eco-footprint and solutions for a brighter future.
When it comes to packaging, many people dismiss plastics as a harmful, single-use material with no place in our future – however, this doesn’t have to be the case. Mythbusting this fear of plastic and educating consumers on its circularity, usefulness, and potential role in mitigating climate change is one of the key actions Caps and Closures are taking to promote sustainable behaviour. We’re kicking off the 2020s with a focus on innovation and environmental leadership – here are the plastic industry’s sustainability goals for the new decade!
1. CREATE A CIRCULAR ECONOMY OF PLASTICS
One of the biggest steps we can take towards a more sustainable future is educating consumers and corporations on the value of plastic. While widely disregarded as the antithesis of eco-friendly, recycled plastic actually has a smaller carbon footprint than major packaging materials like glass and aluminium. At the end of their service life, plastics retain their value as a resource.
While you’d be forgiven for believing so, the truth is that plastic isn’t the problem – our understanding of plastic is. Contrary to popular opinion, plastics are easily recycled and repurposed into new products. The key to a circular economy of plastics is people – and the more people that recognise plastic’s potential as a resource rather than a waste product, the better off our planet will be.
2. PLASTIC CONVERSION INTO CRUDE OIL
The days of dismissing plastic as a harmful, single-use product will soon be left in the rearview mirror. Swedish company OMV has focused on the potential of used plastic as a resource since 2011, and has recently developed technology that recycles it to produce synthetic crude oil. They use this technology at a designated recycling facility with the capacity to produce 100L of synthetic crude per hour using an equal 100kg of plastics.
This innovative technology is significant for its ability to reduce the amount of plastic that has to be incinerated and turned into harmful greenhouse gases. OMV’s initiative is an investment in the future of plastics, and more importantly, our planet. They have led by example through innovation, setting the precedent for a more resource-friendly, circular economy – if other countries and corporations can adopt this technology, the future looks bright.
3. ZERO LAND-FILL
The new decade ushers in a new goal for the plastics industry – and that goal is zero plastics in landfill. While 2018 showed a positive trend towards increased recycling, the majority of plastic waste is still sent to landfill. Addressing this issue in Australia would first require the dispelling of scepticism around recycling. This is why education on the benefits of a circular economy of plastic is paramount to achieving our zero-waste goal.
Our goal of achieving zero waste in landfill uses European countries like Switzerland as a zero-waste benchmark. PlasticsEurope is a major organisation driving this goal, working to promote understanding that using waste as a resource is the key to becoming more efficient as a society. At Caps and Closures, we have a strict zero-waste plastic policy – no plastic leaves our factory before it is repurposed into and given a new life. We hope that educating people on the benefits of using plastic as a resource to be recycled back into new products, energy, or fossil fuel substitute will make it simply too valuable to throw away.
4. ECO-FRIENDLY PACKAGING ALTERNATIVES
At Caps & Closures, we are driven to inspire exceptional solutions to not only our customers’ needs, but the needs of the planet and its people. We’ve extensively researched alternative ‘sustainable packaging solutions’ designed to reduce carbon footprint and environmental impact – and one of the most innovative and viable options we’ve discovered is called OysterLean. This is deployed in our popular 63mm & 83mm Tamper Evident range.
Navigating increasing environmental demands is difficult, as raw materials tend to be accompanied by much higher costs. OysterLean presents an economic and environmentally sustainable solution – oyster shells are collected and processed into a material adaptable for packaging. Developed by AuroraTek, this product has a carbon footprint 5 times lower than traditional plastics and is stable in price due to the abundance and renewable nature of its biomaterial.
As the accessibility of this technology increases, the wider adoption of carbon saving packaging material such as OysterLean would be a positive step towards meeting the industry’s sustainability goals.
5. NIR BLACK MASTERBATCH
Part of our driving purpose at Caps and Closures is to provide leadership in packaging solutions that promote sustainability. We’re currently working on a solution for one of the biggest obstacles in plastic recycling – sorting dark-coloured plastics.
Our NIR (non-infra-red) masterbatch is currently in development, and will allow black and dark plastics to be detected by sorting machines and recycled properly instead of being sent to landfill. We’re working on this innovative solution with the intent of creating something that other companies can adopt into their product, and hopefully solving an industry-wide problem through sustainable leadership!
At Caps and Closures, we view challenges faced by consumers and society as a whole as an opportunity for creative thinking and innovative design. Setting these sustainability targets gives us hope for the future of plastics, and is our way of promoting the amazing actions our peers within the plastics and packaging industries are taking to save the environment. We’ll continue our commitment to innovation and education throughout the new decade in an attempt to inspire exceptional solutions to our sustainability needs.
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