Thermoformed plastics are used to make millions of products and packaging every year, but they often get a bad rap. However, thermoform plastics have their benefits, and have helped make the world a better place. Not convinced? Read the following amazing facts about these versatile materials.
1. Plastics Can Help You Conserve Energy
Did you know that heating and cooling accounts for most of our country’s energy consumption? While you need to heat and cool your home, well-insulated walls, attics, windows and doors can go a long way to ensuring that your home stays hot or cool, and uses far less energy.
Some thermoformed plastics are used to create insulation for our houses and businesses and plastics also can be used to create window panes that provide additional insulation. With good insulation, your heater and air conditioner don’t have to work as hard and you won’t waste as much energy. Additionally, plastics are moisture-resistant, which can help prevent mold and mildew formation in your walls and around window and door frames. Plastic insulation also is used in refrigerators and freezers, which makes these appliances more efficient and, in turn, better for the environment.
2. Transporting Plastic Costs Less
While other materials, such as paper, aluminum or glass might seem like more sustainable options, all of them weigh more than thermoform plastics. What difference does that make? Large trucks, train cars and container ships all have weight limits. When you use plastic packaging, weight is reduced and you potentially you can ship more units in a single shipment. This means less fuel is used to transport your goods, which conserves this precious resource and reduces pollution.
3. Plastics Can Save Lives
Before thermoformed plastics, glass was used for syringes as well as IV bags. While glass could be sterilized, it was obviously quite breakable. Using plastic medical devices ensures that you can bring life-saving medicines to people in any situation without worrying about contamination or breakage. This includes aiding soldiers on battlefields, or perhaps helping injured people after a natural disaster.
4. Enjoy Clean Water With Plastics
In the past, lead was often the material used to create water pipes in homes and throughout cities. Over time, lead corrodes, which means that lead could be leaching into your water. While lead can be harmful to anyone, babies and small children are particularly at risk. Replacing lead pipes with plastic pipes can prevent this issue and improve water quality.
Using thermoformed plastics that meet NSF-PW and NSF-61 standards are a much safer option that using lead or other metal pipes, as these materials resist corrosion and have been tested to ensure that harmful chemicals are not leached into drinking water. These are standards set by the American National Standards Institute, which is a private non-profit that sets standards for a wide range of industries.
5. Plastics Preserve Foods
FDA-approved plastics can be the best option for food packaging. Durable and impact-resistant, these items won’t break during transport or break if they are knocked off a shelf at the store. While this reduces mess and economic loss, it also keeps food as safe as possible, thus reducing food waste. Unlike paper, plastic is moisture resistant, which can extend a product’s shelf life and reduce waste. Furthermore, with advances in food technology, such as modified atmosphere packaging, we can keep food fresh longer than ever before, which also can reduce waste. Reducing food waste is always a good thing, and thermoform plastics are a huge leader in this area.
6. Thermoform Plastics Reduce Fuel Use
This might sound odd, given that plastics are made from petroleum byproducts. However, when you use thermoformed plastics for parts on cars and other vehicles, you reduce the overall weight of the vehicle itself, which make it more fuel efficient. In some cases, car and plane parts are made using thermoset plastic and not thermoformed plastic, and while these two types of plastic are different, both are lightweight and help vehicles, even large airplanes, reduce their fuel use. As a side note, only about 4% of all of the petroleum processed throughout the world is used to create new plastics. The vast majority is used as fuel.
7. Going Off The Grid? Thank Plastic.
While getting solar panels isn’t technically going “off the grid,” it certainly helps reduce grid energy consumption. Those amazing solar panels that are placed on your roof are constructed out of plastic, and using solar panels not only saves you money, it reduces the need for non-renewable sources of energy.
Of course, we’ve all seen pictures of water bottles and plastic containers floating in the sea and no one wants to see that kind of waste and pollution, least of all the team here at Indepak. We are committed to recycling and reusing, and encourage everyone to toss their thermoform plastic packaging into the recycling bin. The good news is that all thermoform plastics can be recycled and more and more people around the world are recycling.
Looking for ways to increase recycling? Implementing a company-wide recycling program can be an excellent idea. Make it easy for your staff to recycle everything from plastic water bottles to food packaging and even non-thermoformed plastic items such as batteries and paper. Set recycling goals and celebrate when the goals are reached. Often, your employees will get into a recycling mindset and these habits will be carried home and, hopefully, on to the next generation.