Plastic or polymers, a curse and a blessing at the same time. Packaging made of plastic actually has optimal properties for packaging products to protect them safely for a long time. An innovation that has solved many problems in the past, but has also created almost as many problems. But how would it be, actually, if one could organize the infrastructure of the waste in such a way that new plastic does not land directly in the garbage incineration or in nature/sea?
There are already many solutions and the implementation is becoming more and more reality. PE packaging and PP packaging are emerging packaging solutions that could solve many problems. Monomaterials, a product that has been around for a long time but is now being manufactured as part of the solution.
Today's recycling plants are modern and separate the materials independently. The problem, however, is that if a number of materials stick together, the sorting plants cannot sort the waste. The result: the box ends up in the residual waste and is ultimately destroyed and not recycled. An example from everyday life: yogurt cups. The cup consists mainly of PP (polypropylene), the lid in turn of aluminum. If the lid is not separated from the cup during disposal, the sorting plant cannot recycle it.
Monomaterial packaging, or single-material packaging, is one way to make the box recyclable for this reason.
In the case of packaging made of paper or cardboard, this is predominantly unproblematic and the material separation uncomplicated. The situation is different here within plastic packaging. There is numerous different plastics (PE, PET, PP, PS, etc.) and separation by type is complex. Particularly in the area of packaging for food or consumer goods, selected plastics are often used, and sometimes alternative materials such as aluminum are also used, for example in the case of yogurt pots.
In the design concept of packaging, the modification of mono-material packaging therefore represents a specific challenge.
Whether a box is environmentally friendly or not depends on many circumstances. In principle, the aim is to conserve valuable resources. The recycling process is a way of giving valuable resources "new life".
Mono-material packaging, which consists of only one material, can be easily classified by the sorting plants and can thus be fed into the recycling loop without any problems. In this way, the material that has been recycled once and for all is available once again as a "raw material" for newfangled materials and in this way helps to conserve natural resources.
Plastic is always criticized and all too often used as a synonym for our waste problem, but here we have to differentiate: If the circular economy means sustainability, then valuable materials that remain in the cycle are essential. This is certainly true for recyclable plastics - and thus for plastics that consist of only one type of material (PE and PP packaging). At Packsquare, we offer precisely this type of packaging made from just one type of plastic to ensure that their resources are not simply lost, but can be reused and help drive the circular economy in the future.
Multi-material packaging made from several types of plastic, on the other hand, does not contribute to a circular economy - nor does packaging made from composite materials such as coated paper. They are incinerated after disposal. Even for fundamentally interesting approaches such as compostable packaging, there is currently no recycling option. This is because even this innovative compostable packaging is sorted out and incinerated along with other residual waste, since the raw materials can no longer be fed into a recycling loop.
Products made of PE film are durable and can usually be reused.
PE plastic can then be 100% recycled and sensibly reused.
Polyethylene burns without leaving toxic fumes.
During production, PE film saves more energy than paper. Therefore, even an environmentally conscious packer can work with PE film without hesitation. Provided that environmental awareness is raised among the population and plastic waste is disposed of properly by everyone themselves!
The packaging world is confusing, and every year there is a new packaging innovation that is supposed to solve the problem of sustainability. However, with every new innovation, there is something in the way that often makes it not scalable. Be it resource scarcity, poor applicability for certain products, no approval for packaging for certain products and more.
However, there is a little champion among innovations, and that is PE and PP monomaterial packaging. An innovation that makes it possible to maintain barrier properties of a conventional multi-material packaging, and still be 100% recyclable.
It is the drive for increased recyclability of waste and an increased increase of recycled material that can be put into circulation.
These PE and PP bags are the beginning of a movement towards a recyclable, recycled and green future