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Real Wrap Co. - Is the problem with plastics what we think it is?
Is the problem with plastics what we think it is?
by admin Wednesday, 3rd of October, 2018

If you haven’t heard about the war on plastics, you’ve probably been living under a rock.

More than 8 million tonnes of plastics are dumped into our oceans every year, harming wildlife and damaging the planet. As a global society, we are rallying together to try and solve this issue – declaring a ‘war on plastic’.

There are ways forward, you just have to make sure you choose the right one. Does plastic always need to be the bad guy? It is an incredibly useful material, especially in the food industry. It keeps food fresh and safe (to ‘food grade’), and avoids creating mountains of food waste by keeping it long-lasting.

With many mixed messages out there, it can get confusing as to the best course of action. Words such as “compostable”, “biodegradable”, and “bioplastics” are thrown around as solutions, but may not be as practical or as sustainable as you’d think.

Compostable and biodegradable plastics, whilst incredibly clever and a great solution in theory, can still take a long time to break down, particularly in the wrong environment. When they do, they produce greenhouse gases that are harmful to the environment. Bioplastics might not be made using petroleum, but may take even longer to break down (if at all)…

Sometimes it is necessary to make the best of what is already there to make a better world. Fully exploring existing recycling opportunities does just that.

There are 7 types of plastic, one of which is referred to as PET1, and has been widely recycled since the 1990’s. These are the plastics used in drinking bottles, which whilst they have become symbolic of the plastic problem, are arguably the plastics most likely to be turned in to other things…

It can be easily recycled across most parts of the country, meaning it can be used and re-used – being made in to more packaging, or even being used in the production of clothes.

With every re-design of our packaging we aim to reduce the use of plastic where possible, and have altered the packaging of our Coffee Shop range (now the new and improved Deli-to-Go range), to completely remove the plastic insert and instead replace it with a cardboard tray.

When we need to use plastic, we make sure it is PET1. Our salad pots are a great example of this. We have removed the film element of the container, so it now comes in a two-part PET1 plastic pot with a cardboard sleeve. This can be easily separated and recycled – there is no need for it to ever reach our oceans.

This is true for all of the plastic used in our packaging; platters, cater-packs and internal structures for some of our sandwich packs – but we are still actively looking in to card-based alternatives and will always be open to the opportunities that come with biodegradable plastics, if and when they become more efficient and sustainable.

We as a company are focusing on educating and encouraging our customers to always recycle where possible. One of the ways we do this is by having a handy diagram on the bottom of our core products that explains to them how they can dispose of our packaging in an environmentally friendly way.

Everyone has to be proactive – change won’t happen overnight, but we are planting those seeds now to pave the way. It is a challenge, but one filled with opportunities to improve the world we live in and create a better future.

Salad pot sustainability claims. Made of PET1 plastics and easily recyclable.

For more information, take a look at this great article – and stay tuned for more news from us.