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It’s in the bag.

Plastic. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Yes, it’s Ugly how it sits in our environment for years, upon decades and possibly more.
No doubt it’s Bad on what it does to our wildlife, with over 85% of Australian seabirds affected by plastic pollution.

So whats the Good?
Well, plastic is an incredibly versatile, durable, strong and lightweight material can can serve many benefits when properly used. Let’s look into this a bit further.

Assessing the Good

Recycled Material

Plastic polymer used in bags can be made from a mix of recycled and virgin materials. Although items like plastic bags cannot be accepted kerbside for recycling, they still be be recycled at an approved drop point recycling station.

Reduced Weight

Using a plastic bag to pack and ship goods will be lighter in weight when comparing to carton boxes. A lighter weight load¬† will reduce stress to the vehicle’s enging during transportation, which effectively reduces fuel costs and carbon emissions.

Reduced Volume

A plastic bag will utilize less volume space when packaging products, in comparison to a carton box. Using less volume will allow more items to be transported in one journey (eg airfreight), which further reduces carbon emissions.

Some facts

Recycled

Only 12% plastic used in Australia is recycled, allowing up to 130,000 tonnes of plastic which will find its way into ocean waterways.

Discarded

Over 95% of plastic packaging used in the Australian market is discarded after a single use, highlighting the importance for recycling or use of biodegradable plastics.

Affected

Approx 85% of Australia’s sea marine animals like turtles can choke on plastic bags. Smaller creatures like plankton can ingest microplastics, which then makes it’s way up the food chain and onto our plates.

Next steps?

01. Avoid single use

When creating packaging that uses plastic, try ensure they are not intended for single purpose use. This will help reduce plastic that will be discarded in landfills, in our oceans and endangering our precious wildlife.

02. Recycling

Learn which plastic materials and products can be accepted in recycling programs when designing your packaging. For those types that cannot be accepted, try avoid where possible.

03. Plant Based

Where recycling becomes complicated, consider replacing plastic with plant based materials that are compostable. Corn starch biopolymers are a great solution as they will decompose when placed in landfill or within a composting environment.

John Kokkinos

Born in Melbourne, John was raised in a family business that consisted of packaging and printing. His weekends and school holidays were fun-filled with printing rollers, hot foil plates and mixing ink. Besides living the early family life of printing, John has been working and managing print packaging lines full-time since 1996. He has also lived in China for over 5 years, successfully building and training packaging facilities there.