Plastic was first put on the market in... read more
Plastic was first put on the market in 1950; at the time, the volume was 1.5 million tons/year. Today, more than 300 million tons of plastic per year are produced. According to a study published in the scientific journal "Science" in early 2015, about 8 million tons of plastic waste entered the oceans in 2010. BUT…. Our plastic wastes don’t just jump into the seas and rivers all on their own!
What does organic plastics even mean? The word... read more
What does organic plastics even mean? The word "organic" is used in two meanings. It may mean organically based, i.e. made of renewable raw materials, e.g. based on starch from maize, potatoes or beets (organically based plastics). "Organic" may also mean that the plastic is biodegradable. Very important: Not every plastic from renewable raw materials is also biodegradable. Equally, not all biodegradable plastics are made of renewable raw materials. Organic plastics come with some advantages. First of all, plastics made of organically based raw materials contain fewer or no harmful substances. If we look at the application, material and service life of a product made of organic plastic as well, production emits 30 to 70 percent less CO2 than conventional plastics, according to the European Plastics Association. Disadvantages of organic plastics: Since natural degradation of biodegradable plastics is very slow, most composting facilities will not accept them. Therefore, organic plastics will end up in the large waste incineration plants along with common plastics. Organic plastics have not convinced the scientific side of their benefits yet either. Experts from the Federal Environmental ministry assume that organic plastics are to be assessed at best similar to conventional plastics from an overall ecological point of view. This is, among others, due to the risk of over-fertilisation of soils in order to grow the required resources more quickly. Looking at the ecological balance, organic degradability of plastics does not bring any benefits and degradation on one’s own compost heap is not ensured. Since they dissolve into CO2 and water in degradation and incineration alone and do not form any valuable soil components, energetic utilisation – i.e. incineration in the waste incineration plant – even has the better results. Other critics point out that the production of organically based plastics consumes resources such as maize or beets that could also be used to fight famine. However, the organic raw materials needed are grown on less than 0.1 percent of the area that is used for agriculture world-wide. At the moment, research is underway on how food residue could be used for plastic production in order to mitigate this point of criticism. One thing is certain: Organic plastics do not solve all environmental issues. However, they may contribute to resource efficiency and organically based recycling in certain areas.
"Plastics are everywhere: in our drinking water, in... read more
"Plastics are everywhere: in our drinking water, in the seas, in our food. Plastics kill seabirds and fish, change our hormone balance and disfigure the environment for centuries. So far, so bad, and quite well known. And a viewpoint so very one-sided. We have a lot to thank plastics for as well, after all: Without plastics, our teeth would be less healthy, our hairstyles less great and our food less fresh than what we are used to. We wouldn’t have any records, band-aids or computer mice. "Plastics have democratised luxury." (Quote of Felix Austen from the article "Darum müssen wir uns mit unserem Plastik-Konsum versöhnen"; Perspektive Daily from 26 March 2018). We live in a world full of plastics. The material promises endless variety; plastic products can be found in all areas of life: Plastic bottles, plastic bags, toys, car parts, laptops, plastic fibre clothing…
There are various approaches in order to reduce... read more
There are various approaches in order to reduce the consequences of "bad plastics" and to avoid them in future: Recycling-compatible design of packaging and organically based materials of renewable raw materials as well as smart packaging - where the packaging offers interactive help. Freshness indicators on the plastic packaging provide reliable information on whether the cooling chain has been interrupted and the product has spoiled. Development of "active packaging" that extends the best-before date and thus reduces food wastes and loss is another example. Smart indicators (freshness, time temperature indicator, opening, etc.) are to help the consumer assess product safety beyond the expiration date printed on the packaging. The cycle is completed by smart recycling systems that are able to separate food components from packaging in order to make them usable for various recycling processes.
Resource efficiency through material savings
Plastic packaging has grown about 25% lighter on... read more
Resource efficiency through material savings
Plastic packaging has grown about 25% lighter on average since 1991. The weight reduction means that nearly 1 M tons of plastics less entered the market in 2013 and that further ecological benefits such as a fewer freight runs, could be implemented. The material savings could be implemented in spite of increasing demands to packaging – e.g. the ability to reseal, portion, stricter food-law requirements. About 63% of the filling materials for private consumption are packed in plastics. Nevertheless, packaging makes up barely 24% of the total packaging found.
Resource-efficiency by recycling
Recycling converts packaging waste back into new plastics... read more
Resource-efficiency by recycling
Recycling converts packaging waste back into new plastics for various applications. Today, nearly 100% of all household packaging are utilised, including 56% supplied to recycling. About 20 years ago, the utilisation ratio was at approx. 3%. Plastics no longer end up in landfills in Germany or Switzerland. Nevertheless, the plastic industry is facing the challenge of clearly increasing the material recycling ratio and closing the material cycles. Better and more effective waste disposal systems must be created outside of Germany as well.
Are we INSANE?!
As a producer of packaging films, we can’t very well make a website talking about “bad plastic” – can we?
Yes, we can:
…to raise awareness! We can’t keep going like this.
…to inform! Not everything about plastic is bad!
…to provoke! … it must be done.
As a manufacturer of films, we have a certain responsibility. This website goes a small way towards meeting it.
The Subject is too complex to be managed and comprehensively described in a simple website!
We would like to inspire you to think and to contribute to bringing a highly emotional discussion back to a factual level.
We look forward to constructive discussions, suggestions and ideas once our blog is ready. Stay curious!
Packed well – good for the climate
Unpacked or incorrectly packed – a lot of food will spoil if not packed properly. European households alone throw away more than 70 million tons of food per year.
For example, the production of 1 kg beef will release 13 kg CO2. If the beef spoils due to insufficient production, these 13 kg CO2 put a needless strain on the climate.
The packaging for 1 kg beef releases only 200 g CO2.
Plastic packaging increases durability in particular for meat or vegetables. As a result, less food needs to be thrown away. This is good for the environment and for our climate.
Transport packaging protects devices such as laptops or mobile phones. The devices consume a lot of resources in production. It would be irresponsible to not protect them, and thus the environment.
Plastic packaging also is lighter in weight than other means of packaging and therefore reduces resources needed for transporting the packed goods.
Transport packaging such as pallets, boxes and barrels are often organised as returnable systems in cycles. Once they are too damaged to still ensure secure transport, they will be either repaired or recycled.
Plastic waste goes in the yellow bin! When plastic packaging is collected and recycled, the materials can be reused and new products can be made of them.
A study of the Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung mbH (GVM) from 2015 proves: About 80 percent of PET recycling (PET bottles) now takes place in Germany. The other material volumes are reused mostly in adjacent countries. The costs for transport to countries farther away usually are too high. Demand for recycling material in Europe continues to increase.
56% of all plastic packaging in Germany is recycled. The remainder is thermally utilised and converted into energy. Plastics that are no longer needed are not considered waste, but valuable raw materials. In countries like Germany, separately collected packaging is sorted, cleaned, and re-processed to be turned into new products. PET bottles, for example, become new bottles, as well as fleece sweaters, caps or scarves. Plastic packaging can also produce district heat. Particularly badly contaminated packaging that would be very difficult to recycle is thermally utilised in cogeneration plants. This replaces valuable crude oil that would have to be used instead otherwise.
The pictures speak a clear language…
However, Germany has a functional disposal system with its yellow bin. Unfortunately, this is not the case everywhere!
95% out of the 8 million tons of plastic waste that enter the sea every year are washed in by the 10 largest rivers of Asia.
This is a global problem that is relevant for all of us. We need to reduce the amount of plastic consumed and put on the market in future. Existing solutions must be re-designed for better recyclability and global disposal systems must be created to collect and re-use the garbage.
Absolutely not. In Germany, packaging that comes in contact with foods is subject to strict inspections. Additionally, there are strict standards for the production of food and medical packaging types. Plastic packaging protects food from contamination, wetness and UV radiation. In the medical area, hygiene and sterility are particularly important. Plastics are great for ensuring this.
Glass eats energy and melts only at 1000 °C. It also is fragile, heavy and requires more fuel to transport.
While recyclable PET bottles have had a good ecological profile for some time, disposable PET bottles have also been subject to continuous improvement in ecological terms. They have been made more environmentally friendly in the last years in particular by measures such as weight reduction, recycling, shorter transport distances and reduction of power consumption. In 2010, the Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH (ifeu) found already that the most frequent disposable PET bottle, the 1.5 l bottle for water and carbonated refreshing drinks, is ecologically equivalent to the recyclable glass bottle.
Because plastic packaging can be particularly light-weight today, cargo holds can be used completely now, e.g. for beverage transports, without overloading vehicles. As a result, more goods can be transported in each run.
Several million trees must be felled every year for paper packaging. Tetra Pak then also still requires plastic coating, since the milk would otherwise simply spill.
Additionally, paper bags are made of paper fibres and the production of paper is particularly energy-intensive (nearly twice as much) and consumes a lot of water. Of course, particularly tear-proof, long cellulose fibres can only be produced with lots of chemicals: Caustic soda, sulphites and sulphates are needed. Additionally, there is a higher stress on the air and water from nitrous oxides and sulphur dioxides. This also leads to negative effects on the environment.
Strictly by ecological balance, consumption and environmental effects, the paper bag has a much more negative result.
By the way:
The fabric bag, currently highly popular and feeling like the most environmentally compatible option, is not quite that great according to the opinion of the “Umwelthilfe” (Environmental Action). It only places the fabric bag in the middle field. After all: The entire production chain must be viewed here as well, says Quast. Cotton growing uses a lot of water, energy and space, which puts a strain on the environment. Again, the material and energy demand for producing a bag is higher here.
(Source: Augsburger Allgemeine, article by Sonja Krell, 16 November 2015)
In the end, the environmental balance depends on how often the bag is used: A fabric bag must be used about 30 times to come out better in ecological comparison than one-time use of a polyethylene bag. Usually, however, plastic bags are also re-used, which makes the fabric bag look even worse in the ecological balance.
Plastics are an all-rounder...
From simple cables to computers. LCD TVs are made based on liquid-crystal... read more
Electrical + electronics
From simple cables to computers. LCD TVs are made based on liquid-crystal plastics.
Extremely thin, one-time syringes, probes, tubes, heart valves, artificial hip joints... read more
Extremely thin, one-time syringes, probes, tubes, heart valves, artificial hip joints or contact lenses.
Various means of traffic - car, bus, train, airplane - plastics... read more
Various means of traffic - car, bus, train, airplane - plastics play an essential role everywhere here.
Plastics as a packaging material are all-rounders here and protect resources:... read more
Plastics as a packaging material are all-rounders here and protect resources: The ecologically efficient thing is to pack as much as possible while using as little material as possible.
When using heat protection systems. Plastic tubes for water and sewage.... read more
Building and living
When using heat protection systems. Plastic tubes for water and sewage. Plastic windows. Plastic floorings.
This starts with (functional) underwear and goes on even beyond water-tight... read more
Culture, free-time, sports
This starts with (functional) underwear and goes on even beyond water-tight breathable jackets with plastic climate membranes. The football, nicknamed the "round leather", has long stopped being made of leather. It is now produced of a multi-layered plastic structure. There is barely any sports arena that still has an ash track; athletes just run that much faster on plastic. Racing sports boats and paddles are no longer made of wood. Plastics have become established due to their low weight at high stability. Source: www.mannheimer-schulen.de
PLASTICS AS A THREAT TO THE ENVIRONMENT…
"The same properties that make plastics such a fantastic material for us – light weight, strength, durability – also make them a disaster... read more
"The same properties that make plastics such a fantastic material for us – light weight, strength, durability – also make them a disaster when they get into nature."
– From »Plastic – A toxic love story« von Susan Freinkel
Plastic waste in the oceans is a great global issue: According to a study published in the journal "Science" in early 2015, about 8 million tons of this waste entered the oceans in 2010.
Estimates suggest that between 100 and 142 million tons of waste have entered the seas by now. It is assumed that about 70 percent of the wastes sink to the bottom, while about half of the remaining 30 percent will be washed ashore at the beaches. The rest is floating on the surface of the water and in the water column. According to the UN environmental program UNEP, 13,000 plastic waste items are now floating on each square kilometre of sea surface. Estimates suggest that 250 million parts are circulating in the Mediterranean Sea now. Current and wind ensure global distribution of the waste throughout the seas before it collects in accumulation areas.
In particular packaging and wastes from fishing and shipping, such as net residues or ropes, are responsible for the suffering of more than a million seabirds and another approximately 100,000 creatures living in the sea that are killed by them every year. It is known that 136 species of sea-dwellers will regularly get entangled and suffocated in garbage. At least 43 percent of all whales and dolphins, all species of sea turtles and 36 percent of the seabirds, as well as many species of fish are known to eat and swallow garbage.
It is high time to start thinking differently...
Only 1.5% of the total crude oil consumption goes towards plastic packaging. 90% are used for heating, power production and traffic.
9700 kg of CO2 are "produced” per person and year – plastic packaging makes up just 0.3 percent of this.
45 plastic bags per person were used in Germany in 2016, as compared to 85 in 2000. By international comparison, every person in Portugal uses 466!
Now we’re supposed to pay an additional tax for... read more
Now we’re supposed to pay an additional tax for using plastic products as well? At least the head of Die Grünen, Habeck, wants to introduce this in order to force a change of behaviour among us end consumers. The "HOW" hasn’t been determined yet ... but we know who will be paying for it in the end! Is this a positive side effect to stuff the financial hole from the impending exit of the Brits? Let us assume that we would have to pay this tax. Even taxation at a rate of 100%, i.e. doubling of the packaging costs, would only add a few cents to the purchasing price. Would we choose not to buy then? Would we actually stop thoughtlessly throwing away the packaging? It is our decision how we handle packaging materials and in how far we are willing to do without this "luxury".
Plastic as a life safer
Cannulas, intubation tubes, disposable syringes, prosthetics and casings for... read more
Plastic as a life safer
Cannulas, intubation tubes, disposable syringes, prosthetics and casings for imaging equipment: More than 50% of all medical products produced world-wide are made of plastics. In particular implants, e.g. for the heart, as well as items used in bone surgery, such as knee and hip joints, have become vital. Many other plastic products are used in medicine today, e.g. in hospital and practice needs. Disposable syringes, sterile packaging and blood bags can save lives - and only make up two percent of the entire plastics used. That’s worth it, isn’t it?
We should celebrate packaging a lot more"
"…Packaging is elementary to ensure safe and healthy food.... read more
We should celebrate packaging a lot more"
"…Packaging is elementary to ensure safe and healthy food. Foods are less damaged and will carry fewer germs. Mould, for example, is carcinogenic. Preventing it saves human lives. …" Let us take baby food, for example … the milk powder needed for it is packed in hygienically impeccable PE film. "… The packaging is what characterises the content, just as clothes characterise people. It’s a cultural asset. In the past, a great part of our food was lost because it wasn’t packed and therefore couldn’t be transported. …" (Source: Zeit online/ 04 April 2018 / Interview by Elisabeth Kagermeier with eco-design expert Michael Braungart; for the complete article, see the further links)
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