What benefits does plastic have for the environment? #PlasticPackagingFacts


In collaboration with the British Plastics Federation, we've selected some facts to ensure a balanced view. Here are the #PlasticPackagingFacts

Food and industrial packaging remains in the spotlight. With so much focus, we want to highlight how plastic is not only a versatile material for a range of uses but it also has benefits in terms of sustainability.

Fact #1: Grapes sold in sealed trays have reduced waste in stores by more than 20%

Food waste has a huge environmental impact in terms of wasted energy involved in producing it. And well packaged food lasts a lot longer. Plastic bags extend the life of bananas by three days. Cucumbers last fourteen extra days when wrapped in film.Fact #2: Plastic packaging can be recycled again and again (into a bag, a bench or even a playground slide)

Unlike many other packaging materials, plastic can be used again and again. When recycled properly, plastic packaging can be transformed. Who knows what your yoghurt pot could become? A bench? A fleece? A playground slide? With the advancements in technology, some plastics can even be broken down into their component parts. This opens up even more opportunities for the reuse of plastic packaging.
Fact #3: Plastic is 3x lighter than other packaging materials, reducing greenhouse gases during transit

Plastic packaging is lighter than ever and can be lighter than alternative packaging materials. Thinner, lightweight, stronger packaging means fewer resources are used in production. Less space means less lorries, trains and planes are needed to transport it. It would take seven lorries to deliver the same number of paper bags that one single lorry could deliver in plastic bags. And because it is lighter, less fuel is needed to move it. Added to which innovations and advances in technology mean it’s getting thinner and stronger each year.

Fact #4: Without plastics, packaging waste could increase by 400%, production and energy costs could double, and material wastage could increase by 150%

Thinner and lighter polythene increases manufacturing efficiencies. Energy costs and production wastage are reduced which benefits the environment and keeps costs low.

Fact #5: A cotton tote must be used 131 times before its carbon footprint improves on that of a throwaway plastic bag

Cotton bags can have a worse environmental impact than plastic bags because of the water and fertiliser required in their production, as well as their transportation and greater weight. A cotton bag would need to be used every day for four months before the ecological impact was as low as a plastic bag. Plastic bags are being developed to be thinner and stronger than ever, allowing use and re-use again and again.

Fact #6: Five million potatoes are wasted every day because they aren’t packaged

Potatoes in bags last up to three days longer, meaning there is more time to eat them and less chance of waste. What would you do with yours? Baked? Roasted? Chips?

Fact #7: Without plastic packaging, packaging weight could increase by 400%, production and energy costs could double, and material wastage could increase by 150%

The use of these new lighter materials has meant that, although we buy more packaged items than ever, the weight of packaging put on the UK market has stayed relatively static.