Understanding Plastics and Environmental Impact
The conservation of our planets resources is now a world-wide issue. Plastics are continuing to replace metal parts in a relentless search for sustainability and low cost in the point of sale industry. Converting metals to plastics also provides benefits to performance across many other sectors, including aerospace and automotive engineering where reduction in weight is key. Any product that a manufacturing company places on the market will have an impact on the environment. We take this seriously at Alplas, so are therefore constantly researching new manufacturing techniques and materials in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint. An example of this is our ‘Corr-a-Clip’, a bio compostable product which is used as a connecting piece for our free standing, corrugated card display units.
Most conventional plastics are made from materials such as PVC or polypropylene, which although is recyclable, will not biodegrade over time. Therefore these types of plastics have long term implications to the environment, with the potential to reside in the ground for a very long period of time. Although additives can be added to the plastics to help speed up this process, there is still no environmental certification for this.
Degradable or Bio degradable plastics are typically produced in two forms, injection moulded plastics, and films such as organic fruit wrappings. These plastics will degrade or biodegrade over time, although they do require a specific environment of moisture and oxygen which can be found at most professionally managed composting facilities.
Bio Compostable plastics have components that are derived from renewable raw materials. These are typically natural plant or corn based and fully compostable. Turning from plastic into carbon dioxide, water and biomass. These products are classed as ‘renewable carbon’.
Over 200 million tons of plastic is manufactured annually around the world. Of this only 26 million tons of plastic waste is recycled.
Alplas is committed to our environmental responsibilities and in 2010 we became certified to UKAS accredited ISO 14001 the international environmental standard. We have also published our own environmental policy so we can help our customers, your customers and the further public to care for the environment.