Redefining our view of plastic

GeoTech® Oxodegradable AirPouch® PillowsConsumers could be forgiven for being confused and even skeptical about the plastics industry and the speed with which it’s embraced the concept of ‘environmentally friendly materials’.  After all, the factors which define a substance’s impact on our planet are far from straight forward.

All plastics have their advantages and disadvantages, in terms of both performance and environmental impact.  The near-universal advantages relate to functionality and weight - vast majority of plastics are superb, long lasting and robust barriers, containing and preserving goods while adding very little to their weight. So while all plastics have their advantages, some can justifiably be ‘greener’ than others.

Oxodegradable plastics, for example, are designed to degrade at a faster rate than regular polyethylene materials. Commonly they’re made from the same resin used to make polyethylene films but have an additional ingredient, an additive, which acts as a catalyst to speed up the degradation process.

Given the right conditions, such as the presence of oxygen and light, oxodegradable films will break down into micro fragments a lot more quickly than traditional films.

Oxodegradable materials aren’t any less durable than regular polyethylene films. The durability of an oxodegradable film depends upon the source material. It’s all about making sure a quality resin is used from a reputable source to ensure the end product is fit for purpose and exceeds customer and consumer expectations.

Reducing lifespan and improving disposability are important factors, but they aren’t the only way to improve the environmental performance of plastics. With research and investment it is possible to deliver high performance plastics from recycled materials, as demonstrated by Automated Packaging Systems in 2013 with the launch of GeoTech®

GeoTech film is made from reprocessed plastics as well as from virgin polyethylene without compromising performance or quality.  

The decision to opt for more environmentally-sustainable plastics seems largely to be driven by brand value and consumer pressure at this stage - customers are certainly choosing films which reduce environmental impact. 

Environmentally friendly material options:

  • Oxodegradable – additive which reduces the break down time
  • Reprocessed – pre-consumer recycled material
  • Oxodegradable reprocessed - pre-consumer recycled material with additive 

For more information on GeoTech film please visit www.airpouch.co.uk

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