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New packaging from reclaimed plastic

By Deanna Utroske

08-Oct-2015
Last updated on 08-Oct-2015 at 18:02 GMT2015-10-08T18:02:55Z

New packaging from reclaimed plastic

One social enterprise organization has masterminded a supply chain to keep discarded plastic from harming the environment by salvaging it to make new injection molded containers and other items.

Plastic Bank of Vancouver, British Columbia, partners with manufacturers to bring clean feedstock back into the plastic supply chain that may otherwise end up in the ocean.

To do this the organization compensates people—with goods or money—in places like Peru and Hatti for gathering plastic from beaches or streets and carting it to the bank’s collection centers. From there the plastic is cleaned and ground into flake for use in new manufacturing.

Environmental cause

Plastic Bank co-founder David Katz is a fan of the material and its capacity to be recycled into such a variety of items. And, he believes that some pollution remedies are overambitious:  “There are too many people who want to go and clean the ocean,” he tells Catherine Kavanaugh of Plastics News.

“It’s such a loss to focus our attention on that. I think what we need to do is make sure the plastic doesn’t get there to begin with,” Katz adds.

Social responsibility

What the Plastic Bank sells to its partners is known as “social plastic.” Indeed, it “costs more than commodity plastics yet it could give product brands a competitive edge. In effect, the businesses are paying a premium to be able to promote that they are part of the solution to reduce poverty and waste,” explains Kavanaugh.

Value-added materials  

Packaging designers and consumers alike are eager to see novel, ethical, innovative materials put to use in beauty and cosmetics packaging.  Though, practical and environmentally friendly packaging isn’t always easy to find.

But it’s worth the investment to find the right materials “since environmentally intelligent packaging design can benefit the planet, satisfy consumers, and bolster a brand’s bottom line,” as Cosmetics Design reports .

The luxury natural skin care line Kahina Giving Beauty, for instance, opted for sophisticated violet glass containers. Consumers have embraced the environmentally compatible packages, founder Katharine L’Heureux told Cosmetics Design recently .

In practice

Brands are recognizing that less can be more. The color cosmetics company Stowaway is betting on smaller packages and half-size product volumes . And, Lush has been getting its fair share of press lately for it minimal packaging.

That company uses social plastic for some its packages. Sourcing plastic feedstock from the Plastic Bank, Lush works with Plascon Plastics of British Columbia on injection molded containers for its products.

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