Last updated: 28 Apr 2022 | 360 Views |
As more and more industry leaders become concerned about runaway environmental pollution, many of them are searching for reasonable solutions that address the needs of businesses, the general public, and the environment.
One of the most promising ideas to come along is the concept of a circular economy. A circular economy is an all-encompassing systemic approach to manufacturing and economic development designed to satisfy the needs of the various factions that contribute to and benefit from this development. Businesses in the plastic tube packaging industry, as major consumers of plastics, have known about the concept for a while and have been working towards achieving it as part of their ongoing business practices.
The word that best defines this concept is 'regenerative'. The concept differs from the traditional linear approach to development embodied in the phrase “take-make-waste". The circular economy aims to gradually back away from the consumption of finite natural resources to create the products that fulfil our everyday needs. It also aims to create a product life cycle, and at the end of that life cycle, those products become the base materials for the next generation of products.
However, even if every industry in the world embraces the concept, it will still be some time before a circular economy can be achieved. And this is one of the reasons why you may not have heard about the concept before. Before we can get away from the use of natural resources to create our products, they have to be replaced with other materials that have the same qualities and characteristics. And the majority of these materials don’t yet exist.
A lot of the work undertaken in plastic labs and research centres around the world is not coming up with the next miracle plastic resin, it’s coming up with sustainable materials that can be substituted for traditional plastics. In an ironic twist, plastics researchers and developers are now striving to replace the materials they've spent years developing. But they're doing so willingly because they've realised that traditional plastics are damaging our environment.
The concept of a circular economy acts as a shining beacon on the horizon for industries of all kinds to aim for. The progress, at first, will be slow. But as more and more sustainable materials are developed, the pace of the move towards a circular economy will inevitably pick up.
Many people will ask how replacing one type of material with another constitutes a circular economy. But the materials being developed have two criteria they have to meet. Firstly, they have to be sustainable, and secondly, they have to be recyclable.
This means that not only do the materials of the future have to perform the jobs that plastics do today. They also have to be much more robust to endure countless uses and manufacturing cycles. A circular economy places a lot of value on preservation. This means that it’s not just materials, but also labour and energy that will be reused, or used to fulfil more than one role.
Researchers are monitoring the number of practical uses for these new materials, and the value of these new materials may sometimes be ten times the value of the plastic they replace. The way to keep costs down in manufacturing these new and valuable materials is, of course, to recycle them. One of the core precepts of the circular economy is to "use things rather than use them up". The longer you keep a material in use, the more value it has.
Victor Packaging, a plastic tube packaging supplier in Thailand, has been actively working towards the idea of achieving a circular economy for many years. But while they're working to develop new materials, they're also taking more immediate steps to lessen their impact on the environment.
Several years ago, they began taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Their goal was to reduce the amount of energy used in their six plants. Although the project won't be complete until 2023, they hope to reduce their energy use by up to 70%.
They’re also a pioneer in the introduction of post-consumer resins (PCRs). These PCRs can only be a certain percentage of the total plastic material created as they’re governed by regulations made to protect consumers from impurities. But this small step shows that achieving a circular economy is possible. By replacing these PCRs with sustainable materials and easing the regulations to allow for increased amounts, a major hurdle will have been reached.
Partner with Victor Packaging and see what they can offer your brand with their eco-friendly and sustainable packaging.