If you have a product packaging dilemma, chances are, you can solve it with plastics. Plastics are strong, durable, lightweight, and save in both cost and material resources over the alternatives.
Take a closer look at the top five benefits of plastic packaging.
Plastic can be as strong as steel. This durability protects your product — from perishable foodstuffs to fragile keepsakes to expensive electronics — from the wear and tear associated with production and shipping. Plastics packaging ensures your product shows up on store shelves or in your customers’ homes looking as good as new.
Durable plastics consume less energy during the production process than metals, too, in part due to how light they are.
Plastics are prized for being lightweight. Though over 50% of all European goods are packaged in plastics, these plastics only account for 17% of all packaging weight.
A study of the ramifications of replacing plastic with alternatives (such as paper and paperboard, glass, steel, aluminum, textiles, rubber, and cork) found that substitutes are, on average, 4.5 times heavier. The alternatives require substantially more material output to create the same packaging.
With this winning combination of being lightweight and strong, plastic packaging protects your product without adding bulk. It also saves you in manufacturing and shipping costs.
The lightness of plastic is also closely tied to its superior sustainability. Its comparatively low weight contributes to its lower energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions over other materials.
Though many think plastics are a detriment to the environment, the opposite is true. Many of the qualities that critics call environmentally negative, such as plastic’s resistance to corrosion and its bio-inertness, make plastics very resource efficient.
Plastic packaging is also easily and frequently recycled. In 2014 alone, the United States recycled:
- Over 3 billion pounds of plastic bottles
- Over 1.2 billion pounds of non-bottle rigid plastic
- Over 1.1 billion pounds of postconsumer film (including plastic bags and packaging)
In examining global warming potential, plastics blow the other materials out of the water. Sticking with plastics over alternative packaging saves 75.8 million metric tons of CO2. This is equivalent to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions saved by taking almost 16 million passenger vehicles off the road for a year.
You can mold plastic into essentially limitless shapes. Think of the vast variety of plastics packaging you see all the time:
- Bags and pouches
- Flow wraps
It’s hard to think of a packaging material more versatile than plastic. Here are just a few things it can do:
- Fit packaging to your product precisely with a custom-made mold.
- Form packaging into a box, sphere, cylinder, or any other shape.
- Seal a product tightly or provide a simple open frame or hanger.
- Package something as small as a button cell battery or as large as a pallet of bicycles.
- Hold hot foods, cold liquids, acids, or bases.
Your imagination is the only limit when it comes to plastic packaging.
Plastic packaging is notoriously inexpensive. Due to its light weight, plastic saves over alternatives when it comes to shipping and transportation costs. It saves both in the cost to get products to consumers and in the cost to get post-consumer materials to recycling centers.
Its material resource efficiency saves you money, as well. For example, replacing plastic packaging with other materials requires 80% more cumulative energy demand. Plastics, then, result in a significant cost savings on your energy bill over other materials.
This is just the beginning — there are many other benefits to plastics packaging. Check out our post on award-winning plastics packaging.