This week a new plastic free “trust mark” was introduced to show which food packaging items contain no plastics. Supermarket Iceland and Teapigs teabags are amongst the first to adopt the scheme which prominently displays a logo on the front of the packaging. As consumers become increasingly aware of the problem of improperly discarded packaging and the need to correctly recycle plastics, it is ever more necessary to ensure that your plastic packaging – for food or for other items – is designed to be recycled as well as clearly labelled so. Here are our top tips for making your plastic packaging more environmentally friendly.
Choose the Right Material
There many types of plastics – choose one that is easily recyclable such as HDPE or PET. These commonly used plastics are easily recyclable – unlike PP or plastic films. PCR plastic and RPET use recycled plastics in the mix and themselves are recyclable!
Reducing the weight of a product uses less resources and will also affect the emissions produced in the transportation of the product. The journey a product takes from factory to distribution to store to customer all result in carbon emissions from the truck driving it about – a lighter product needs less fuel to be transported and causes lower emissions.
We’ve written before about avoiding the “Pringles Factor”, the poor planning or design that results in multiple materials being used and making a product near impossible to recycle. Takeaway coffee cups have become a common example of this problem, which waste companies are keen to solve. For most packaging products, it’s unnecessary to mix materials or types of plastics, good design doesn’t need 6 materials!
Items such as pumps for liquid soaps and spray tops for cleaning bottles contain several materials making them difficult to recycle – for items such as these, ensure correct labelling that tells consumers to unscrew the top and only put the bottle into the recycling bin.
As well as prominently displaying the Mobius Loop and plastic resin codes, explain to consumers how to recycle! For instance, a yoghurt pot with spoon may contain a pot, film lid, spoon, label and plastic lid – clearly and concisely say on the label which of these can be recycled. Tell consumers if they need to rinse a pot or bottle before putting it in the bin! Contaminated plastics are a major problem in the recycling industry!
If you would like your product developed and manufactured by a company with a responsible approach to plastics manufacturing and recycling, please get in touch. You can call us on +44 1692 501 020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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