Sustainability in the plastics industry is a hotter topic than ever in 2020. And being sustainable means something different to each distributor – whether it’s creating reusable products, converting scrap from production back into resin or incorporating post-consumer material into products.
At Versa Pak, we’re doing all three. And today we’re highlighting our use of post-consumer materials with special guest Marc Goldenberg of Multiplast.
Where is the Plastics Industry Headed in Terms of Sustainability?
“In the last six months or so, the use of recycled content is getting to be more focused and the more agreed-upon direction,” said Goldenberg, “Some of the bag associations are saying by 2022, they’re going to have X percentage of recycled content in all of their products.”
But for something like a used plastic water bottle to become a new product, it needs to actually be recycled first. That’s why it’s important for vendors and distributors to educate consumers, says Jeff Knapke, sales manager at Versa Pak.
“I’ve seen two presentations done that state that Millennials want everything recycled. But the problem is, they’re not doing the recycling. So part of the deal is that we need to educate people about the different numbers and how that process works,” said Knapke.
What are the Benefits of Using Post-Consumer Recycled Plastics?
For distributors looking for sustainable and cost-effective options, post-consumer resin products can be a good bet. They also perform and look similar to virgin resins, said Goldenberg, though they aren’t exactly alike.
“They’re never going to be 100 percent identical to virgin plastic, and that’s not always a bad thing,” he said. “A lot of people like to see that there is a difference and really see that they are doing something different by trying this material.”
Post-consumer options are perhaps more popular than options like degradable or compostable materials, said Goldenberg. That’s because they’re easy enough to understand: Materials are used for their intended purpose and then created into new materials through recycling.
And unlike compostable or degradable products, which can create a lot of questions – like how does it degrade or how long does it take to break down – when your recycled-origin material arrives, you already know what it is and how it works.
How Can Recycled Materials Be Used?
Post-consumer recycled resins can be used in a wide variety of applications, Goldenberg said. Some may even be FDA-approved for non-food purposes.
At Versa Pak, we now have the option of post-consumer resins, which are produced into sheeting, films, bags and more.
Contact Versa Pak today to see how this process can benefit you and to request a quote.