Blow Molding and Sustainability: Why Being Eco-Friendly is Good Business

Many people think that profit and sustainability are at odds. But this is a misconception. In reality, going green and saving money often go hand in hand. For example, if businesses were to cut carbon emissions by an average of 3% annually, they’d save $780 billion over 10 years!

When dealing with plastics and blow molding, being eco-friendly can boost your bottom line on many fronts. Here are some of them.

Eco-friendly materials and manufacturing methods

The best way to both save money and be green is to choose eco-friendly materials and adopt green manufacturing practices. Below are some examples of how blow molders and plastics processors are leading the charge.

Recycling

This is a big one. A blow molder that uses recyclable materials and recycles its waste can help guide your own sustainability program, drive down your production costs, help meet environmental regulations, and provide you with safe recycled resins to make the sustainable products that are in high demand. The best recyclers will be able to certify materials to meet worldwide chemical and quality standards.

Light-weighting plastics

Light-weighting — reducing the amount of resin used to make a product — has become increasingly popular in the past decade. When Nestle started manufacturing lighter water bottles, they decreased the amount of material used by 60%. This resulted in annual savings of $62 million. A good design team can make products that are stronger and lighter at the same time.

Bio resins

Plant-based plastics have been available for the injection molding process for a decade. Only recently have bio-plastics been developed for blow molding applications. There is still a significant amount of testing needed to confirm molding limits and product performance in various applications, but initial results are promising.

Recycling compressed air

Blow molding uses a large quantity of compressed air, which requires a lot of energy. Recycling this air can reduce energy use by up 40%, resulting in big financial savings.

Installing adjustable speed motors

Adjustable speed motors shut off or power down when a blow molding machine or an auxiliary machine isn’t in use, which reduces energy waste.

Other energy reduction practices

Reducing heat waste with insulation, auditing for water leaks, recycling heating and cooling fluids, and providing good airflow around machinery — these things can reduce costs by up to 20% and increase profits by at least 2%.

Customer perception and satisfaction

Being eco-friendly makes for better customer relationships. Your customers want to use their purchasing power to support companies that are making an effort to address global climate concerns.

  • 55% of consumers are willing to pay more to buy from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. (Remember: Being eco-friendly is often less expensive.)
  • Products with sustainability claims on their packaging show a 2% average annual sales increase, while products that promote sustainability actions through marketing see a 5% increase. Brands that do not make sustainability efforts, on the other hand, show a sales rise of only 1%.

Source: Nielsen

Employee satisfaction

It’s not just your customers who want you to go green. Your employees want to be able to show up for the environment when they show up for work.

Companies with sustainability engagement initiatives experience higher employee engagement. This increase is crucial for profitability and growth:

Innovation

Finally, sustainability initiatives inspire new ways of thinking.

“Only business has the creativity, the power and the scale to make really big things happen,” says sustainability expert Mark Gunther. He notes that climate change and other global issues are business problems as well as social problems. “They create risks that threaten the stability that capitalism needs to thrive. More important, they present enormous opportunities to those businesses that find ways to help solve them.”

Looking for sustainable ways to tackle business challenges helps you to think outside the box. The most successful companies in the plastics industry see sustainability not as an obligation but as an opportunity. It’s more than just a series of small decisions. It’s a deep understanding of the ways efficiency, economy, and the environment are interrelated, and that a commitment to one is a commitment to all three.

Custom-Pak has been a leader in environmentally sustainable blow molding for over 40 years. Looking for more information? Check our page on Stewardship & Recycling.