Not all plastic is bad plastic! How plastic profiles are getting greener
Have you ever thought about the sustainable properties of plastic? When you think about plastics, you probably jump towards negative connotations of being bad for the environment. This is far from the truth! If produced and implemented correctly, plastic products can help people and businesses lower their carbon footprint.
With the government’s newly introduced Plastic Packaging Tax on 1st April 2022, at Condale Plastics we wanted to show how our business and the industry we live and breathe is heading for a greener future.
Using plastic as an alternative material can actually be better for the environment in a number of ways. Firstly, only 4% of the world’s oil production is used for plastics, with much less being used to create plastics compared to other materials. In addition, due to plastic’s durable yet lightweight properties, less energy is used too.
A number of industries that we use every day are benefitting from a reduced carbon footprint as a result of using plastics. Looking at the aviation industry, the Airbus A380, one of the world’s largest commercial aircrafts, contains just over 20% reinforced plastics when being built. This use of plastic reduces the fuel burn to a rate comparable to that of an economical family car due to the lower weight of the aircraft.
The automotive industry has seen the use of plastics boost their environmental sustainability. A modern-day car contains about 11% plastics by weight; some 40 years ago in the 1980s, this was closer to 8.5%. The increased use of plastics has reduced the weight of cars on the road, which has led to less emissions produced by each car. This weight reduction also means that the extra weight from improved safety features, such as airbags, is offset, allowing cars to be greener and safer.
Due to plastic being lighter than other materials, 100kg of plastic in a car can replace about 200 to 300 kg of traditional materials. In modern cars, this can reduce the fuel consumption of the vehicle by 750 litres over its lifespan, saving money for the user and cutting down on emissions.
In Switzerland, the rail industry benefits from the use of plastics. The use of plastic panels onboard their trains has led to their weight decreasing by a quarter, which has led to significant energy savings.
Making sustainable choices
As part of our plastic extrusion process, we try to capture all plastic waste when cutting our profiles and ensure it is chipped and reused, either in-house or when we sell it on to be reprocessed. Alongside this, we try to make sure that all polythene bags we use are recovered after use so we can bale them up and sell them on for recycling.
It isn’t just the plastic we use that can change our sustainability actions. The processes we use here at Condale Plastics can also help to reduce waste.
The hot air that is produced by our chillers is recycled into our factory to be used during the winter months, meaning we use less energy heating up our premises. Any excess metal waste from our tool room is sold on for recycling and any waste oil we produce is disposed of at a certified firm to ensure needless pollution isn’t produced.
We are always looking to cut the emissions of our workforce as well as the workplace. We have recently upgraded our delivery lorries to newer, more efficient models so they meet emission standards. We have also upgraded to new Tesla electric vehicles for our sales team. How much does that reduce emissions? Well in just over a year, one electric car on the road can save an average of 1.5 million grams of CO2.
All cardboard waste we produce is captured and cut down for use as pallet liners between products, keeping our plastic profiles safe and secure whilst also cutting out needless waste. When it comes to purchasing new machinery for our factory, we carefully consider the power requirements and energy efficiency of every piece of equipment to make sure we are choosing the most environmentally friendly option.
How Condale Plastics can help you reduce your carbon footprint
Over the past 9 months alone, Condale Plastics has purchased nearly 450 tonnes of recycled material that we can now use when producing new products! This material has mainly come from recycled PVC window profiles. We are thrilled to be able to create the right plastic profile for our customers whilst also using recycled material without hindering the quality of our products. Get in touch with our team today to see how we can produce the right plastic profile for you.