“Waste isn’t waste until we waste it”
Last week Swedbrand had the pleasure to host a Workshop on reusable plastic organized by Andrea and Adèle, the co-founders of Precious Plastic Shanghai, a global community of hundreds of people working towards a solution to plastic pollution. Andrea, from Barcelona, is a talented industrial design engineer, and Adèle is a brilliant French designer.
The company was started in 2013 by Dave Hakkes and is now at its third version, counting on dozens of people working on the project, remotely or on site.
This community of more than 40 thousand people creates tools that make it easier to start recycling plastic. Their knowledge, tools and techniques are shared online, for free. So everyone can start doing their part (yes, you too!).
The main objective of the workshop was to provide us knowledge about plastic recycling and apply it to our strategy, in order to help designing our packaging in a more thoughtful and eco-friendly way.
After a brief introduction about the company and their commitment to sustainability, the co-founders of Precious Plastic Shanghai gave us a detailed explanation about the concepts of Recyclability and Sustainability.
Recyclability is the quality of being recyclable. Recycle means convert waste into reusable material.
Paper cups can be reused, but they are more difficult to recycle than plastic cups as they are made of different materials so tightly combined that if you try to separate them you end up spending a lot of time and energy and neither component comes out very pure.
Plastic cups are generally composed of one material, usually PET, which makes them a lot easier to recycle. If you are choosing between paper or plastic cups when it comes to recycling, plastic is the better choice.
Sustainability sounds simple, and it’s a great buzzword. But not surprisingly, there is much more to achieving sustainability than just making products environmentally friendly. It is normally referred to the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. Eg:” The pursuit of global environmental sustainability”.
Sustainability can be sustainable! In some cases, it starts with the simple act of recycling a water bottle. Here are the 5 stages of Sustainability before a product ends up in the landfills.
The second part of the workshop was focused on the various kinds of plastics available, their classification, how we can differentiate them, and their common use.
The most common type of plastic is the thermoplastic polymer, which is a type of plastic that changes properties when heated and cooled. Above a certain temperature, thermoplastics are elastic. And as the temperature increases, they gradually soften, eventually melting.
The most common thermoplastic polymers are PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP, PS, ABS; and they are much easier to adapt to recycling than other types of polymers.
How many times can plastic be recycled?
Plastic can be recycled up to 6 times! And this is what our friends at Precious Plastic do. They collect plastic, shred it, and turn it into something new. They even created specific molds to create precise objects, from bags and jewelry, to trays and clocks. They basically turn plastic waste into valuable things!
The last part of the workshop was more focused on us as a packaging company and how we can improve recyclability and adapt our current packaging in order to make it eco-friendlier. Starting from educating our clients on the different solutions and materials we can offer them, and adapting our design in order to make the packaging easier to be recycled.
Thank you, Precious Plastic Shanghai, for sharing your knowledge with us, it was very inspiring and eye-opening! We are looking forward to a future collaboration!
Let’s take action and fight plastic pollution together!