Towards a Plastic-Free Future: Strategies for Reducing Plastic in Products and Packaging

Towards a Plastic-Free Future: Strategies for Reducing Plastic in Products and Packaging

Plastic is a ubiquitous material that can be found in a wide range of products and packaging. From water bottles to food containers, plastic has become an integral part of our daily lives. However, the environmental impact of plastic is becoming increasingly apparent. Plastic waste is filling up landfills and oceans, harming wildlife and ecosystems. In addition, the production of plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems.

As consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of plastic, many are looking for ways to reduce their plastic use. Companies are also taking notice, and many are implementing changes to reduce the amount of plastic in their products and packaging. So, let’s find out more!

Here Are Some Ways That Individuals and Companies Can Reduce Their Use of Plastic:Here Are Some Things to Avoid When Growing Cucumbers:

Here Are Some Ways That Individuals and Companies Can Reduce Their Use of Plastic:Here Are Some Things to Avoid When Growing Cucumbers:

Choose alternative materials: There are many alternative materials to plastic that can be used for products and packaging. For example, glass, metal, paper, and cardboard are all materials that can be used instead of plastic. Many companies are now using these materials in their products and packaging, and consumers can also look for products made from these materials.

Reduce packaging: Many products are over-packaged, with unnecessary plastic wrapping and containers. Companies can reduce the amount of packaging they use, and consumers can choose products with less packaging. For example, buying in bulk can reduce packaging waste.

Use refillable containers: Instead of buying single-use plastic containers, consumers can choose refillable containers for products such as cleaning supplies, personal care products, and food. Many companies now offer refill options for their products, and consumers can also purchase reusable containers to refill at home.

Support companies with sustainable practices: Many companies are making efforts to reduce their environmental impact, including their use of plastic. By supporting these companies, consumers can help drive demand for more sustainable practices in the marketplace.

Properly dispose of plastic: When plastic cannot be avoided, it is important to properly dispose of it. Recycling is one option, but it is important to check local recycling guidelines to ensure that the plastic is being recycled properly. Another option is to properly dispose of plastic waste in a landfill.

Here Are Some Examples of Companies That Are Making Efforts to Reduce Their Use of Plastic in Production and Packaging:

Here Are Some Examples of Companies That Are Making Efforts to Reduce Their Use of Plastic in Production and Packaging:

Unilever: This global consumer goods company has committed to halving its use of virgin plastic by 2025, and has already made progress by introducing reusable and refillable packaging options for many of its products.

Nestlé: This food and beverage company has pledged to make all of its packaging reusable or recyclable by 2025, and has also launched several initiatives to reduce its use of plastic, such as its “Milo” brand using paper straws instead of plastic.

Coca-Cola: This beverage giant has set an objective to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can it sells globally at least by 2030, and has introduced recyclable packaging for some of its products, including its Dasani water bottles.

Patagonia: This outdoor clothing and gear organization has been a leader in sustainability for years and has made significant efforts to reduce its use of plastics, such as switching to recycled polyester in many of its products and using biodegradable packaging.

Adidas: This sportswear brand has committed to use only recycled polyester in all of its products by 2024 and has also introduced a range of sneakers made from recycled plastic waste.

Overall, reducing plastic use in products and packaging is a crucial step in reducing our environmental impact. By choosing alternative materials, reducing packaging, using refillable containers, supporting sustainable companies, and properly disposing of plastic, we can all do our part to create a more sustainable future.



Top 4 Things To Know About Recycling Plastic

We produce more and more waste. According to a World Bank report, the world generates 2.01 billion tons of waste per year. However, little of this waste is recycled today, which can create tensions between certain countries. This is the case of Malaysia, which recently decided to send back the tons of plastic waste that arrived illegally on its territory. So how can you contribute to more efficient recycling? So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn some of the things you need to know about recycling plastic.

1. Mechanical recycling


Sorting, grinding, and heating are the three stages of mechanical recycling, the technique used in 99% of cases worldwide. After being collected and sorted by a family of polymers with optical sorters or flotation systems, the plastics are washed and crushed into granules. And then melted down and reused. This technique does not rid the plastic of its additives (colors, etc.). Food packaging plastic cannot, therefore, return to a quality allowing it to come into contact with food.

Users are driven to make lower-quality products, such as garbage bags. The recycling loop is not complete. As a result, manufacturers prefer to use cheap new plastic rather than recycled. And a large part of the waste from developed countries is sent abroad, denounce the NGOs.

Under societal pressure, the processes are improving, especially for PET: thanks to poly-condensation, the degraded molecules are restored, and the impurities are evacuated by heating and under pressure. In recent months, water bottles made of recycled plastic have been found in Europe.

2. A molecule, a factory

Each molecule practically requires a specific type of factory and equipment. However, there are dozens of types of polymers. The most common polyethylene (PE) is used for shampoo bottles and plastic films surrounding a pack of water bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). As for their caps, they are made of polypropylene (PP)! Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used in construction for flooring or windows.

Polystyrene (PS) produces yogurt pots and, in its expanded form, trays, while polyamide (PA) is reserved for textiles and automobiles. Polyurethane (PU or PUR) is for foams and insulation. Hence the interest in investing upstream in quality sorting equipment to correctly separate plastics, as Japan does. This makes it possible to limit losses in nature, welcomes the WWF, which regrets, however, that this country does more incineration than recycling.

Since China closed its doors to Western waste at the end of 2018, some 70 big “plasticizers” (Dow, Exxon, Henkel, TotalEnergies, Mitsui Chemicals, etc.) united in the “Endplasticwaste” collective have supported collection and sorting projects in India and Thailand in particular, and recycling.

3. Europe, best student, but can do better


Faced with a global recycling rate of 9% of plastic waste, often due to a lack of collection and sorting infrastructure, “just over a third (34.6%)” of the plastics collected in Europe were sent to the recycling in 2020, according to the OECD.

The northern countries (Germany, Sweden, Norway) are ahead, around 40%. The specialized ENF directory lists 161 factories in Germany, 173 in Poland, 132 in Italy, 89 in Spain, and 46 in France. But according to the European Patent Office (EPO), Europe and the United States between them concentrate 60% of global patents on plastic recycling or bioplastics. Even in Europe, there is still a huge step to climb; we should at least reach 50-60%.

4. Is Chemical recycling desirable or worse?

Chemical recycling makes it possible to “depolymerize” the plastic by returning to the basic molecules (monomers) or even to go back further by remanufacturing “naphtha”, an oily compound derived from petroleum and precursor of plastic. By adding a solvent to a cake, it’s as if we come back to eggs, flour, and butter. With the basic elements, we remanufacture plastic of the same quality as virgin plastic from oil.

Its advantage is to complete the recycling loop for all molecules, PET, PE, PS, PP, etc. Its disadvantages are enormous investment costs, in particular for the collection and separate sorting of fragile parts such as jars of yogurt. However, recycling is only done if it is profitable. In addition, it requires a lot of energy and many uncertainties remain about its emissions of greenhouse gases and toxic by-products, underlines the Heinrich Böll Foundation and other experts.

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Pyrolysis, A Process For The Transformation Of Plastics Into Fuel

At the moment on earth, plastic has invaded almost every surface, whether on land or sea. In our daily life, we use this material quite often. And once we don’t know what to do with it, we throw it away. However, it is a material that takes years, even centuries, to degrade. It is, therefore, necessary to find ways to collect, treat and reuse this waste as soon as possible. Plastic pyrolysis is a method that scientists have found to reuse this material as fuel. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn everything you need to know about pyrolysis.

A nanoporous material


Research is therefore focusing on optimizing the pyrolysis process to increase the amount of oil with a petroleum cut- that is, the composition of the hydrocarbon mixture according to the number of carbon atoms in the molecules close to that of diesel-type s. This allows for a one-step conversion of the plastic into fuel without having to subject the hydrocarbons to a further “cracking” step.

Researchers at California Polytechnic University have designed a new process based on a catalyst and a new reactor architecture. The catalyst used is a mixture of nickel and tungsten deposited on a zeolite substrate, a nanoporous material. The latter is a crystalline aluminosilicate (SiO2-al2O3) sieve with microscopic pores that increase the exchange surface to increase the efficiency of the process but also facilitate the dewaxing process. This property allows for obtaining cuts between C9 and C22 (between 9 and 22 carbon atoms), typical of common diesel.

How to learn about pyrolysis?

Certainly, there are people who have not yet heard of this method. In fact, it is not a new technique at all. However, its concept is developing. You should also know that pyrolysis is not only for plastics. It is the thermal decomposition of organic materials to obtain a carbonaceous solid, an oil, or a gas.

For plastics, distillation allows them to transform into fuel. In any case, this process is accessible to everyone. You need to have the necessary materials such as stainless steel tanks, copper tubing, copper wall passes, butane or propane gas, and of course, plastic waste. It is best to use polypropylene or polyethylene plastics. First, the plastics are crushed and then hermetically sealed in the first tank.

The last two tanks must be heated to condensate the gases at a high temperature. Then the plastics are heated to 450 degrees. This oxygen-free combustion will produce diesel, kerosene, gasoline, and gas (1 kilo of plastics yields 800 grams of fuel). After about an hour, turn off the system and let it cool down before opening the tanks. These fuels will be useful in many areas; for example, gasoline will be used for electricity. This is the basic idea of how waste should be managed.

What are the advantages of pyrolysis?


The process of distillation of plastics has many advantages for people and nature. From an environmental point of view, pyrolysis offers better control of the degradation of plastics, as they will not disappear for centuries. On the other hand, fuels from plastics also show secondary reactions. However, it does help to reduce the ever-increasing numbers of plastics. So there is a way to help get rid of these environmentally harmful materials. But the plastic will not cease to have an effect no matter what form it takes or what transformation it undergoes.

A pyrolysis is also a new form of recycling. With tons of plastic constantly covering the earth, recycling is one of the best ways to combat this. They can be reused in the home, for gardening, and many others. Yet only a handful of these plastics are recycled. Even if some plastics contain substances that are extremely dangerous to the environment, recycling is never a bad thing. It is necessary to know in any case that not all plastics are recyclable.

Pyrolysis allows for the transformation of these non-recyclable materials. Moreover, it is an energy recovery of plastic waste. In the past, the landfill was preferred because it was the simplest and cheapest. However, landfill is not a better solution because storage space and capacity are limited. Fortunately, pyrolysis avoids huge stocks of plastics. It not only gets rid of plastic waste but also gives it a new use in everyday life. This is generally called waste recovery or waste reclamation.

Sound off in the comments section below and tell us what you want to read next and if you want to read more about pyrolysis.

How To Create a Sustainable Workspace?

The business world occupies an important place in the lives of every one of us. People spend more time at work than they do with family and friends. With the increasing pressure of competition, the need to create a sustainable workplace is becoming more and more critical. A sustainable environment is essential to help people relax and be productive during a long, stressful day.

Eco-sustainability has become one of the major concerns in today’s business world. All companies, whether in industry or technology, are contributing to global warming and pollution. However, these companies and employees can also help design workplaces that contribute to environmental sustainability. These capabilities include incentives and opportunities to repair damage to ecosystems. Here’s a few ways you can help create a sustainable work environment!

Enough Paper

Drafting, duplicating, and reviewing documents clogs printers and creates discarded piles of papers. The green solution is to reset the method. By printing only what you need, you can reduce the waste of printing documents and presentations. Save drafts to your laptop or a shared cloud, where they can be easily be deleted with a single click.

Maximize the Use of Natural Light

Not only is natural light environmentally friendly, but it also provides excellent visibility. All you have to do is adjust your chair or desk to the best angle and adjust your curtains well. The later you turn on the lights, the better it is for your mood and the environment.

Unplug Everything

When you are done, unplug everything. This not only feels liberating, but it also saves all the power consumed by printers, computers, and mobile device chargers that are unnecessarily on standby or connected to the network.

Set Up Recycling Centers

It’s easy to say separate collection simply, but it often creates worse consequences due to negligence and lack of shared rules. That’s why it’s essential to clearly state the rules and name each container with their specific collection items to be recycled.

Smart Commuting

How do you get to work every morning? Have you ever wondered if you’re optimizing your resources? Carpooling may be the best way to save money and CO2 emissions. If possible, it is even better to use a bicycle. Most importantly, your choice should not be an isolated one. Present your transportation problems to your colleagues and create a network of smart commuters.

How to Create a More Environmentally Sustainable Office for Your Employees

Green Initiative Proponent

If you work in an office or coworking space, you can become a proponent of green initiatives and raise awareness of the people you work with and around you. You can even form a “sustainability team” with other coworkers to recommend common protocols for waste disposal, energy conservation, and products used for cleaning. Such bottom-up efforts are far more effective than any business decision.

Office Plants

Whether large or small, having a plant near your workplace will improve the air around you and remind you that there is a beautiful world out there.

No Plastic

Do not bring disposable bottles, glasses, cutlery, or plates into the workplace. Always choose glasses, plates, and water bottles that can be washed and reused.

No to Unnecessary Meetings

How many useless meetings do you have every week? How much valuable time are you taking away from your workflow to address issues that could have been resolved via email? Unnecessary meetings also impact the environment, with vehicle travel leading to environmental pollution, trash and plastic from impromptu snacks, and extra cleaning at the end of the day. Optimize your time and set up moments to confront your team and customers according to a specific agenda.

Relax and Breathe

Don’t underestimate the impact noise can have on your productivity and mood. Ensure your workspace has an area or corner dedicated to silence and relaxation. This can be a place for people to meditate, take a minute to themselves, or take a little “power nap”.

Do you have any other tips? Share it with us in the comments below!

How Sustainable Are Biodegradable Plastics?

In the current world, great strides are being made to eliminate the use of plastics in our everyday life. However, it can also be argued that while we should aim to use less plastics, we can’t forgo it completely. For example, there isn’t a better alternative to plastic when it comes to food packaging, which is essential in keeping foodstuff fresh while in storage or in transit. This is why there has been a sustained push towards developing biodegradable plastics out of plants, or even food scraps and sewage. Unlike traditional plastics that maintain their chemical structure even when broken down into smaller pieces, biodegradable plastics decompose into molecules that can safely reintegrate into the environment.

There are already several environmentally friendlier plastics on the market, such as plastic cups and bottles made from plants, which have a smaller carbon footprint when compared to traditional, petroleum-based plastics, and made from renewable resources.

However, not all biodegradable plastic is created equal, and the biggest challenge scientists face is identifying or designing the right material for a particular job. Also, just because something is made from plants does not automatically mean that it’s biodegradable. In fact, some bioplastics persist in nature much longer than their traditional plastics counterparts.

This discovery has actually led to stricter definitions for “biodegradable” or “compostable”. A plastic is now only considered biodegradable if it breaks down into fragments that can be completely consumed by microorganisms in the disposal environment within a defined time period. The general consensus is that 90 percent of the organic carbon must be used by compost microorganisms in no more than 180 days.

Is Biodegradability the be-all and end-all?

One thing that most proponents of biodegradable material tend to overlook is whether the term actually means anything. Take human feces for instance. It’s completely biodegradable, but that doesn’t mean you can fling it anywhere you want. Also, different materials biodegrade under different conditions, and if those conditions aren’t available, then the material can be just as bad as regular plastic. For instance, the popular PLA (polylactic acid) cups that are labelled as biodegradable only break down in industrial composting centers. So, without the relevant infrastructure, these cups will stick around for almost as long as a traditional plastic cup.

Furthermore, bioplastics can’t replace traditional plastic in all applications. Can you imagine pipes or bulletproof vests made from biodegradable plastics? The whole point of these products is to NOT break down after all. The key is to develop the right material for the right application, and that adds yet more challenges. For example, the temperature needed to mould, shape, and process biodegradable plastics is often near the temperature under which it degrades. To raise the degradation temperature, for instance, researchers can add chemicals that prevent or impede the polymer chain from breaking down. Or they can use tactics to lower the melting temperature, for example by using additives called plasticizers.

A Different Approach

The current methods of making bioplastics are relying on food crops like corn, potato and sugarcane, and the microbes that feed on the sugars within these crops to create the building blocks of PLA can be considered quite effective, provided that the underlying agricultural practices are also sustainable.

However, researchers are actually looking into the incredible power of microbes that feed on sewage and food waste to create fuels and useful products, including plastics. A team of environmental engineers at Columbia University, led by Kartik Chandran have built bioreactors that use a mix of microbes to first break down the waste into volatile fatty acids. Then, in a second step, another mix of bacteria stitches those acids together to produce PHA. Other teams from companies like Mango Materials in California are using microbes to produce PHB from methane captured from facilities such as wastewater treatment plants and landfills.

How sustainable are bio-degradable plastics? We may not be a long way from saying – very. What is your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!