Responsible plastic use has become a pressing issue in present-day society. According to conservation organisations, 32% of plastic packaging leaks out of the collection systems and into the environment. This leakage leads to the degradation of natural habitats and a decline in our quality of life.
At least 8 million tonnes of plastic packaging end up in our oceans every year. It is estimated that an estimated US$ 40 million per year are spent to mitigate the adverse effects of this leakage. The European Union adopted plastic consumption and recycling measures in early 2018, but the impact of these measures at a global level is less than 2%. Asian countries account for 80% of plastic leakage, and this is because regulations governing plastic consumption and prohibiting the disposal of plastic in oceans are non-existent in these countries.
We have witnessed an incessant rise in the use of plastic packaging in recent years, resulting in an environmental challenge that demands to be reversed. Plastic packaging is undoubtably a convenient solution consumers enjoy. In fact, one of the main advantages of plastic packaging is that it reduces food waste. According to available data, for each kilogram of plastic dumped into our oceans per year, more than 160 kg of food waste is generated per year. This is a staggering number. That amount of wasted food could feed 200 million people and represents an economic impact of $US 1 billion.
Plastic packaging is currently one of the best packaging solutions available. Plastic is a proven solution that best protects and preserves food at all stages of the supply chain: from processing, throughout transport, to the end-user. Plastic is also safe. It is up to us to use plastic responsibly so that we can continue to offer plastic packaging solutions, while respecting the environment.
A EUROPEAN STRATEGY FOR PLASTICS
Global production of plastics has increased twentyfold since the 1960s. Around 25 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated in Europe each year and less than 30% are recycled. In January 2018, the European Commission adopted the first-ever European Strategy for Plastics. This Strategyaims to curb single-use plastic use and micro-plastics and ensure that all polymer-based plastics sold within the EU are recyclable by 2030.
The primary objective of this regulation is to safeguard the environment and raise public awareness in Europe on responsible plastic use. Furthermore, this regulation pushed companies to rethink how they manufacture products so they can be more competitive, generating new investment opportunities in emerging technologies and employment opportunities.
HOW ARE MANUFACTURES ADDRESSING THIS NEW MOVEMENT?
Consumer product companies had to adopt new policies in light of the new European regulation on plastics because all plastic packaging must be recyclable by 2030. Companies have already started implementing measures that will allow them to reach this objective and the deadline set out by the European Union.
Plastic packaging manufacturers and distribution companies lie at the heart of the change. These companies are responsible for designing new packaging solutions that raise consumer awareness on recycling best practices. They must create new consumer habits because plastic packaging solutions will need to be 100% recyclable in the future.
At SP Group, we are contributing to this transformation by creating new recyclable and biodegradable packaging solutions. We employ an eco-efficient approach in the design and manufacture of our products.
However, our responsibility towards the environment goes beyond manufacturing packaging solutions. Our TRAY2TRAY initiative affords our clients an active role in a Circular Economy, while offering economic benefits in the plastic reduction management cycle.
This initiative brings together profitability and sustainability in the manufacturing process by giving a renewed use to packaging solutions by reintroducing them into the production chain.
TRAY2TRAY explained in three simple steps:
- We install an easy-to-use, on-site compacting machine to reduce waste volumes.
- We pick up the waste bundles at no extra cost.
- We recycle and convert the waste into new, manufacturable packaging solutions.
At SP GROUP, we understand that sustainability is an integral element of the manufacturing process. Our commitment to the environment guides our quest for waste reduction solutions, continuously striving to reduce energy consumption in our manufacturing processes and our environmental footprint.
Visit our website to learn more.