New Materials Make Packaging Industry Sustainable

According to the latest research, there are six kinds of plastic packaging materials that can significantly reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
The study was conducted by Franklin Associates for the American Chemistry Council and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, with 2010 as the baseline year. Research data shows that replacing plastic packaging with other materials will increase the package's weight gain by 4.5 times and increase energy consumption by 80%. Warming potential increased by 130%.
Keith Christman, general manager of the plastics market at the American Chemistry Council, said its advantages are reflected in a variety of applications and materials. Because plastics use much less material, greenhouse gas emissions are greatly reduced. The total amount of various types of plastic materials is equivalent to reducing more than 15 million cars on the road.
The study proposes six major packaging resins, including low-density polyethylene, high-density PE, polypropylene, PVC, foamed styrene, and PET, superior to paper, glass, steel, aluminum, textiles, rubber, and cork. The study investigated the effects of materials used in lids and closures, beverage containers, other rigid containers, shopping bags, shrink films, and other flexible packaging in a detailed life cycle assessment. Christman said that in the past there have also been individual studies on specific products, including plastic bags vs. tuna cans, EPSvs. paper cups, etc. However, the latest study entitled "The Impact of Plastic Packaging on Life Cycle Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the U.S. and Canada" is quite extensive. The results of the study included more than 50 tables and 16 charts and diagrams, and examined the main lifecycle stages of packaging: raw material production, packaging manufacturing, distribution and transportation, post-consumer disposal and recycling.
Christman said that the study also mentioned the possible consequences of the proposed and recently implemented ban on plastic packaging products. From a statistical point of view, although the disabling of plastic bottles may eliminate plastic bottles in waterways, it will greatly increase the energy consumption for production, transportation, and even glass bottle regeneration.

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