Packages and closures for packaging

Fighting plastic at the top level

While everyone is wondering how to get rid of plastic and find replacements for this material in cosmetics packaging, we invariably and consistently try to tell you how to live in harmony with it.
What does the European Union propose to us?
Polish entrepreneurs have an ambivalent attitude towards the European Union.
When a subsidy bank transfer comes in, the EU is a good aunt, whereas when regulations forcing changes take effect, it becomes a stern, disliked uncle.
However, it’s worth looking at strict regulations not only from one’s own point of view, but more globally, taking the whole continent into account, as well as in a longer term, e.g. a few hundred years.
What’s the aim of the changes introduced is the well-being of the future generations.

'After us, the Deluge”

Madame de Pompadour, to whom this quote is attributed, wasted the public money; today we waste the earth's resources with similar light-heartedness. We need to change the way of thinking and become aware of the fact that we carelessly deprive the future generations of precious raw materials.
Although the EU's proposals aren’t perfect, as we discuss it later on, they are also not easy to implement, require investment, but, importantly, they force changes in the existing habits.
The European Plastics Europe association keeps a close eye on the EU's work on the changes contained in the very comprehensive project, i.e. the Green Deal.
It comments on the changes, provides advice, and presents the position of plastic manufacturers and processors.
Plastics Europe has a real contact with the processing industry, recyclers and manufacturers of packaging, which politicians often lack. Taking a comprehensive look, it can see the differences between the amount of waste, the ability to segregate it, recycle it, and, ultimately, to bring it to the market.
Although it may look simple to a layperson, in fact there isn’t enough recycling capacity to achieve two basic goals – to recycle plastic waste and deliver the right quantity of the raw material processed, thus meeting the market demand, which will allow to deliver on the assumption that the recycled material will account for 30% of packaging by 2030.
If the three values don’t reach a stable balance, closing the circulation of plastics will be impossible.
Plastics Europe suggests that the basic solution of the problem is investment in mechanical recycling on one hand, and chemical one on the other hand.
Constructing these two pillars will also allow recycling of waste whose low quality doesn’t make it fit for mechanical recycling.
The companies which are members of the association already invest in such solutions, but what’s needed here is help and systemic regulations.

You can see less from behind the desk

In the European Commission, the work on plastics, the circular economy and alternatives to plastic in packaging is in full swing.
From behind desks, without confronting reality, the world looks simpler than it actually is. The constant suggestions that recycled plastic should end up in packaging that comes into contact with food and cosmetics is, in our opinion, dangerous at this stage of commonly available technologies
In order to consider it a good solution, each granule of the recycled material would have to undergo tests.
At the same time, companies which should use in their products the plastic obtained thanks to the circular economy principles boast of it as pioneering innovations. A paper punch, drainpipe, lamps, kitchen furniture are just a few examples of where such plastic starts to be used, although it should be very common by now. Likewise, the automotive industry could have a huge share in collecting recycled plastic and casting it into, for example, engine covers or elements of the car interior.
When we want to find out why such plastic isn’t used by these industries, we are told, off the record, that it’s of poor quality.
So the quality is at the top level for food and cosmetics, but is insufficient to produce lamps or a paper punch…

According to the results of the research carried out by independent scientific institutions, plastic, compared to other packaging materials, leaves the smallest carbon and water footprint. What is taken into account is the entire life cycle of the material – from the acquisition of the raw material, through its processing, selective waste collection, recycling and, finally, reuse. Unfortunately, neither paper, cotton, nor even bioplastic can boast better results than classic plastics.
Resignation from the plastic in favor of other materials may prove to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We can’t forget about it, taking decisions in the spirit of eco design of packaging.
Plastics are certainly a difficult and multifaceted topic, and definitely there will be changes in the approach to it, but also systemic solutions that will solve the waste problem.
Until then we can act in accordance with the principles of the “waste” pyramid.
We should avoid the waste, and minimize its quantity as consumers.
As manufacturers, we should consciously use eco-design principles, and market the kind of plastics that actually have a chance of a second life in the form of a recyclate in a given region.