We all know plastic waste is bad for the environment. But look deeper, and perhaps the picture isn’t quite as clear cut. Plastics might be part of our everyday lives, but they still have the power to surprise us — in a good way.
For example, lifecycle studies have found that plastic packaging can deliver more nutritious produce with less energy consumption and food waste, a massive environmental problem. In fact, when used thoughtfully and in the right situations, plastic could even have some environmental benefits. Check out these five good ways that plastic sheets may help the planet.
Lower Impact Than Paper
Paper might degrade much faster than plastic, but it’s incredibly resource-intensive. We know how beneficial trees are for the planet, yet 15 billion a year are chopped down to make paper. The manufacturing process also requires a significant amount of energy and water, and it produces a large amount of waste that’s difficult to get rid of. So suddenly, paper doesn’t seem quite so eco-friendly.
By contrast, plastic sheets are much easier to recycle. And though plastics also use energy and valuable resources, they have a longer lifespan than paper products.
Increased Fuel Economy
Plastic components have a big role to play in vehicle safety. But there’s another big bonus to using a material that’s much lighter than metal or glass. By reducing overall weight, a car can travel much further on a tank of petrol because it doesn’t require as much effort to move the vehicle forward. Lighter weight = less petrol = better for the environment.
And reducing fossil fuel consumption means you won’t make as many trips to the garage. So it’s another win-win for plastic.
Plastic has an excellent strength to weight ratio because it’s both sturdy and lightweight. Put that together with the ability to create plastic sheets finer than paper, and you have an incredibly streamlined packaging material.
The result is lightweight packaging that contributes to lower carbon emissions by needing less fuel to transport from A to B. In fact, one study found that using plastic packaging had around four times lower environmental costs than other materials. And because lightweight and robust plastic lets you do more with less, waste is dramatically reduced.
Plastic is resistant to UV rays, making it ideal for food wrapping and helping to reduce food waste. In addition, it won’t rust or degrade quickly, and it doesn’t need replacing as often as other materials. One study even found that replacing plastic packaging would increase waste, water consumption and energy use.
Think about your reusable plastic water bottle or the sewage pipes outside your house. They’re incredibly strong and durable. They’re also low-maintenance and rarely need replacing. In these kinds of applications, plastic actually lets us do more with less.
Plastics are everywhere in the modern world, from vehicles like the all-electric Citroen Ami to residential and commercial properties. For example, PVCu glazing is not only super effective at filtering UV rays in summer. It can help to retain warmth throughout the winter. In turn, that reduces the energy required to heat our homes, meaning we stay comfortable for less.
PVC double glazing is also fully recyclable and can be reused for long-life products like insulation flooring, roof coverings – and more window frames.
Find Out More About Plastic Sheets
At Plastics Plus, we’re the UK’s leading supplier of plastic sheets and other products. Are you interested in finding out more about our versatile range of plastics and how they can help your business be environmentally friendly? Get in touch today with our sales team and they’ll be happy to help.