How a switch to recycled content tape can improve the sustainability of your business

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Sustainability has become a central concern for businesses and consumers alike.

As the environmental impact of our activities continues to be scrutinised, companies are actively seeking eco-friendly alternatives to reduce their carbon footprint.

A quick win for sustainability in any packing operation is often parcel tape, as businesses literally use miles of it each day.

We do a lot of work around plastic tape replacement, switching customers to gummed paper tape but, if your unable to do this due to material suitability, how can you make your plastic tape more sustainable?

Well, you could consider a switch to a recycled content tape.  The reduces the amount of virgin material in the roll, making better use of raw resources, and diverts waste into recycling production.

In this article we will explore why recycled content material could have a positive impact on the sustainable goals of your packing operation.  We’ll examine:

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How recycled content plastic can reduce the extraction of fossil fuels

When recycled plastic is used to create new products, it reduces the demand for virgin plastic production. Virgin plastic is made from petrochemicals derived from fossil fuels, such as oil and natural gas.

By switching to a recycled plastic, there is less need to extract and process these fossil fuels to create new materials. 

The production of virgin plastic is energy-intensive, involving processes like refining and polymerisation, which require significant amounts of energy.

Recycling plastic, on the other hand, generally consumes less energy. The use of recycled plastic in manufacturing helps to conserve energy and reduce the need for fossil fuel extraction. As well as reduce the need for new plastic production, it also extends the life of existing plastic materials.

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The impact of recycling on extending the life cycle of plastics

Recycling has a significant impact on extending the life cycle of plastics, enabling the reuse of plastic materials and diverting them from waste streams such as landfill, where they could take hundreds of years to decompose.

The recycling infrastructure for plastics does require significant investment to increase the amount of plastic that can be processed for reuse.  The UK government have tackled this head-on through the introduction of the Plastic Packaging Tax, which adds an additional cost of £211 per tonne of virgin plastic packaging or, packaging which contains less than 30% recycled plastic.  This has driven a significant change not only in the packaging industry, but also the plastic recycling industry by driving a demand for recycled content – this is making it commercially viable to process more plastic waste for reuse.

The introduction of EPR will also place the cost of waste processing from local councils to brands and packaging suppliers who release Primary and Secondary packaging into households.  It’s hoped that this increased revenue will drive consistent kerbside collections throughout the UK, make waste products a valuable commodity, drive a wider capability in recycling and shape a true circular economy in material manufacture.

What effect can a recycled content plastic tape have on your carbon footprint

Switching to recycled content tape, from a virgin plastic material, can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. 

As it reduces the need to source and extract fossil fuels, the CO2 emissions during the manufacturing process reduce significantly.  Imperial College London state that recycled plastics can save between 30% – 80% of the carbon emissions that virgin plastic processing and manufacturing generate. If you use a lot of plastic tape, it’s a quick win bring down your CO2e emissions.

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Where can I purchase recycled content tape

Macfarlane Packaging have just relaunched it’s plastic tape range to contain a minimum of 30% recycled content, it’s available in standard polypropylene parcel tape, we also offer a low noise version.

We’ve also converted our eco tape to 30% recycled content, with 200 metres on a roll it means fewer dispenser changes and less cores to recycle.  Our PET tape contains a minimum of 60% recycled content.

If you’d rather switch from plastic tape completely, we do have a range of self-adhesive paper tapes which could work for the products your wrapping.  Not to forget gummed paper tape too!

Recycled content tape is just one switch to help you improve the sustainability of your packing operation. There are many others that can help to reduce the amount of virgin material used in your packaging and reduce your carbon footprint. Contact Macfarlane Packaging to find out more, whatever you are packing, we can find the right solution for your business.