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Can Plastics Be Sustainable?

Posted on 18th November 2015

Plastic is everywhere. It has become completely embedded in our modern lives. The toys we play with as children are manufactured from plastic. Plastic protects the food we eat from contamination in transit. Plastic is vital to modern industrial and automotive requirements. Lifesaving medical tools have essential plastic parts. Over the last century and a half, we have introduced plastic into every sector of human life - but how sustainable is this?


Keep it in the Ground

Traditional plastics manufacture relies on crude oil. A substance called naphtha can be isolated from oil by a process of distillation. Naphtha can be polymerised to form plastic that can then be moulded so it will set into the desired shape. These processes use a lot of limited natural resources - the crude oil itself and also a huge amount of water. Ecologically minded groups campaign to keep oil in the ground. So what are the alternatives?


Materials Produced from Biomass

'Bio-sourcing' has recently become a buzzword in the plastics manufacturing community. Biofuels can be produced from plants and used to power diesel engines. These bio-based products can also be polymerised to make plastics. In some quarters, this raises the same objections that you hear about bio-fuels: the land should be used to grow food to feed developing nations, not fuel and plastics. However, there is some research indicating that bio-plastics can be developed from a waste product of the bio-fuels industry. 


can plastics be sustainable

The Circular Economy

Most plastics are recyclable. The best answer to the sustainability question is to ensure that the plastic we already have does not get irresponsibly discarded in landfill while new plastics are manufactured using finite resources. In the circular economy, plastic waste is used to make new plastic products.


At Coda Plastics, we pride ourselves on our sustainable approach to plastic recycling. We take in waste from other companies to use in our own manufacture of innovative plastic products. If you have a design you would like to see implemented in plastic and want to be certain that the company you use has an environmentally considerate approach, drop us an email to sales@coda-plastics.co.uk and one of our experts will get back to you.


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