The Impact of Hidden Plastics in Business
Every day, we're making positive steps towards more sustainable living. We've switched to reusable grocery bags, sipped our drinks through paper straws, and swapped plastic packaging for compostable. As conscious consumers and business owners, we're doing our part to reduce plastic waste. But have you considered the hidden plastics we often overlook?
Stickers on packages, shrink bands on bottles, gloves in food processing, warehouse pallet wraps - plastic has an uncanny knack for turning up in the most unexpected corners of our businesses.
Our efforts to eliminate the obvious culprits should be celebrated! Each change, no matter how small, is a step forward in our shared journey towards sustainability. But we also need to look closer to find the less visible forms of plastic waste.
Tackling Hidden Plastics: From Shrink Bands to Pallet Wraps
We’ve previously looked at some easy ways to get started with sustainable packaging, as well as shared ideas for how small businesses can incorporate stock compostable packaging such as blank bags and pouches.
Our attention is easily drawn to larger, more visible forms of plastic waste - think water bottles, shopping bags, and food packaging. It's easy to overlook the smaller pieces of plastic such as shrink bands, stickers, or even labels on products.
Although tiny in comparison to many other plastics used in business, these 'micro-contributors' to plastic waste add up significantly over time and across millions of products. Because of their size, they are frequently ignored during recycling processes and can also end up contaminating compostable waste streams.
On the other end of the scale, we have larger, behind-the-scenes plastics that escape public scrutiny because they're not customer-facing.
Consider pallet stretch wrap - a critical component in warehouse operations. Used to secure goods for transport, the sheer volume of this plastic product consumed daily is enormous, and yet, it rarely features in discussions on plastic waste. Just because it's out of the public eye doesn't diminish its environmental impact!
Hidden plastics are pervasive and pose a considerable challenge in our journey towards zero-waste.
Turning the Tide: Compostable Alternatives for Business
"One of the cool things about being sustainable is it feeds on itself. The more you do, the more you want to do. To that end, we geek out on all the new ways we discover to be more sustainable than we were yesterday.”
- Peter Rushford, Founder/CEO, Shar Snacks
A wave of innovative solutions is helping companies rethink their plastic usage, without compromising on functionality or efficiency. Here's a look at some of the sustainable alternatives available for these hidden plastics:
Traditional plastic pallet wrap is a significant source of non-recyclable waste. Compostable pallet wrap offers an eco-friendly solution! Compostable stretch wrap provides excellent strength and flexibility, comparable to conventional plastic wraps. After removal the pallet wrap can be composted.
Labels and Stickers:
Many businesses are unaware that their stickers often contain plastic laminates, and may contribute to plastic waste. The good news is there are compostable labels made from plant-based materials! PURE Labels blank or custom printed labels are made from materials such as sugarcane paper, and are 100% compostable (including compostable adhesive!)
Shrink bands are essential for safety and tamper evidence in packaging, but most are made from plastic. Sustainable alternatives are now available! Compostable shrink bands provide the same level of protection and visibility as plastic, but without the plastic waste.
Many plastic films are difficult to recycle, particularly if they’ve been used to wrap food products. Compostable cellophane sheets allow you to safely and sustainably wrap your products, and can be composted after use.
Gloves, particularly in food handling and health industries, contribute to significant plastic waste. The films are usually not recyclable, and single-use gloves are often contaminated when disposed of which causes problems in the recycling stream. Compostable gloves are an excellent alternative to traditional latex or vinyl gloves, ensuring that you can work safely without compromising on environmental responsibility.
Choosing these alternatives not only reduces your plastic waste but also signals your commitment to sustainability to your customers. It showcases your brand as one that not just talks about sustainability but implements it in all aspects of business operations. As the demand for eco-friendly products continues to rise, now is the time to explore these alternatives and make a positive impact on our planet.