‘Plastic is bad for the environment.’ At least, that’s what we’ve been led to believe in recent years. There are noble campaigns to stop plastic-use, to halt the sale of single-use plastics, and to promote more awareness of the environmental impact of the waste we produce.
However it’s not quite so simple as saying ‘all plastic packaging is bad for the environment’. There’s no doubt that plastic is bad for the environment, but only when it’s misused and thrown away.
Industrial packaging is almost always reused or recycled – plastic drums for sale are more often than not repurposed – and with a long lifespan and incredible level of versatility, plastic can be the best option for storage and transport.
In this article, we ask the question: ‘Is plastic packaging bad for the environment?’ Here’s what the experts at ITP Packaging had to say…
What’s the Problem with Plastic Packaging?
Plastic packaging is demonised, and for many good reasons. While plastic was originally seen as a breakthrough material when it was first synthesised – it was easy to mass-produce, long lasting, versatile, etc. – in recent years, the environmental effects of mass plastic usage has come to be keenly felt.
The problem with plastic packaging is that there’s so much of it, and it can take up to 1,000 years to degrade naturally. Plastic ends up in the oceans, in rivers and lakes, and we see it littering the streets. Plastic causes pollution, it kills wildlife, and surely plastic production must use up lots of energy, too.
It’s easy to draw the conclusion that plastic packaging is bad for the environment. But is it really?
Single-Use Plastic Is the Major Culprit
Much of this plastic waste is single-use plastic. In fact, the real reason that plastic is seen as bad for the environment is that we don’t recycle and reuse enough of it.
Plastic is only bad for the environment when it’s thrown away, when it’s not recycled and when it’s only used once before being chucked into landfill. That’s when plastic ends up polluting, using mass amounts of energy, and causing environmental damage.
When plastic packaging is recycled, reused and repurposed, it has the potential to be long lasting, saving mass amounts of energy and not polluting the environment. One of the major ways industrial businesses benefit from making use of plastics is the fact that plastics are so easily reused. Let’s take a look at this in more detail.
How Plastic Barrels Have a Minimal Effect on the Environment
Plastic barrels or drums are one of the most common forms of industrial packaging. Based on our plastic-logic, our oceans should be full of plastic barrels. But they aren’t.
That’s because plastic drums for sale in the industrial packaging world have generally been recycled and repurposed. The classic blue plastic barrel is produced from HDPE (high-density polyethylene), a material that’s strong, durable, flexible, and versatile.
While blue plastic barrels can take 1,000 years to degrade, they are often reused and repurposed. Barrels have a long lifespan, stretching into decades. They can be cleaned, disinfected, decontaminated, fixed, remoulded, resealed, and more. If a barrel can’t be repurposed, HDPE can be broken down and recycled into another container. The problem therefore isn’t the plastic barrel, but what happens when it isn’t recycled.
Plastic packaging and plastic barrels help to protect goods, they can extend the longevity of oils and lubricants, and stop food from going off quickly. All of this ensures that plastic barrels actually help to reduce waste, rather than adding to it.
Energy Usage and Carbon Footprint
Contrary to popular belief, plastic packaging (and plastic barrels in particular), actually helps to lower energy consumption levels and reduce carbon footprint. For businesses looking to extend their environmental reach and lower their emissions, plastic barrels are the way forward, especially when reused time and time again.
It takes less energy to recycle plastic than it does to produce a similar type of packaging from scratch. In fact, producing plastic packaging from scratch uses less energy than other materials. This is one of the reasons why plastic took off so quickly when it was first mass-produced – it’s cheap and easy to produce.
The problem isn’t that plastic uses lots of energy, but that we don’t reuse the plastic we do create anywhere near as much as we need to.
Recycling Is Key to Helping the Environment
The key to plastic usage – whether single-use plastic or plastic barrels designed for industrial purposes – is recycling.
Blue plastic barrels have the ability to be reused, repurposed and completely recycled. This means they’re well suited for industrial usage, as well as everyday use.
When plastic barrels are reused time and time again, they don’t contribute to environmental pollution, they don’t end up harming animals or end up in the ocean, and they don’t clog up landfill sites.
For industrial purposes, the benefits of a plastic barrel – including their ability to be recycled numerous times – is what makes them such a key component in the supply chain. Without plastic packaging, we wouldn’t have the same level of choice we have in the supermarkets, we wouldn’t be able to easily transport goods over long distances, and we wouldn’t be able to protect many of the everyday items we buy at the store.
Contact ITP Packaging Today to Find Out More About Plastic Packaging
Plastic drums are an effective way to store and transport a range of industrial goods. Plus, with a long lifespan and the ability to be reused, repurposed and recycled, they aren’t bad for the environment.
Here at ITP Packaging, we have a wide range of plastic drums for sale, and our staff are happy to help you find the right packaging for your needs. For more information on plastic drums and other types of industrial packaging, don’t hesitate to contact ITP Packaging today.