Post-Consumer Recycled Content in Flexible Packaging

November 3, 2020
By Jeff Thrams

Post-Consumer Recycled Content in Flexible Packaging

Striving for a Zero Plastic Waste Operation

As a manufacturer, the processes by which raw materials are transformed into commonly used commercial forms are often less than environmentally friendly. In the past, standards for what was acceptable and in compliance with environmental regulations was far less stringent. Likewise, consumer preferences and values have changed significantly, placing a greater value on environmental responsibility when buying products. Primary Packaging Inc. (PPI) understands these trends and strives to limit its impact on the environment. Today, Primary Packaging is a leader in the flexible packaging industry, boasting a zero-plastic-waste facility and using post-consumer recycled content.

At Primary Packaging, zero plastic waste that ends up in landfills from our extrusion and film production process. PPI is extremely proud of that statistic. However, environmental responsibility does not end with eliminating waste. It is equally important to deliver solutions using more sustainably sourced materials.

Post-Consumer Recycled Content

What is post-consumer recycled content? Post-consumer recycled content is a material composed of previously used and recycled materials. Instead of ending its lifecycle after a single use, it is redirected away from the landfill. Next, it is processed and repurposed for a new use, thus extending its lifespan and reducing its impact on our environment.

Post-consumer resin, like the material used by PPI, is typically a blend of different resins. These blends consist of a variety of recycled resins that often end up in landfills. These blends are not from a single pure source, so there may be minor defects or slight variations in color on the finished packaging product. However, these defects are superficial and do not affect the overall function of the product.

Post-Consumer Recycled Content Resin

Primary Packaging currently has the capability to run up to 80% post-consumer materials in our mailer films, 25% in ConservaCubeTM packaging, and up to 35% in heavy duty plastic packaging bags and film. These flexible packaging solutions are widely used in markets such as:

• insulation
• cellulose
• wood pellets
• soil & mulches
• rocks
• fertilizers
• minerals
• ice melt
• pool salts
• variety of other chemicals

In the flexible packaging industry, solutions for the commercial and industrial markets are often limited to heavy duty plastic bags. This limitation stems from the need to ensure chemical resistance to maintain a product’s shelf life. These requirements dictate the type of materials that can be used in the chemical makeup of those products. The PPI team carefully selects and tests all materials used in our flexible packaging solutions to meet the highest standards.

Is Primary Packaging Product Recyclable?

As a proud member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, PPI is always looking for ways to offer packaging solutions to its clients that meet sustainability goals. One way PPI meets those goals is by offering flexible packaging that can be recycled. It is PPI’s goal to work towards 100% fully recyclable packaging through ongoing partnerships with suppliers, customers, and value chain partners that share our views for environmental sustainability.

Recycling

Many factors go into determining whether a product or material can be recycled. Considerations include type of ink, type of material, and type of product that will be packaged. Each customer has different reasons or requirements that must be addressed by its choice of packaging partner. PPI is here to help find the flexible packaging solution that is the best fit for every unique situation.

Sustainable Packaging Is More Than Just Recyclable, Its Efficient!

Post-consumer recycled content is not the only answer to the sustainable packaging question. The shift from rigid plastic containers to flexible packaging is another innovation trend. Rigid to flexible conversion has a significantly positive impact on the efficiency and sustainability of packaging. A prime example of this shift and the benefits of switching to a flexible packaging design is PPI’s ConservaCubeTM.

ConservaCubeTM is a game changer in flexible packaging. It accomplishes the same job as rigid packaging, but achieves savings from reduced weight, greater logistics and inventory efficiency. ConservaCubeTM also allows the ability to downgauge from a conventional pillow pouch format. With these added benefits, it’s clear that sustainable packaging is much more than an expensive alternative reserved for companies whose mission is to operate in harmony with the environment. It is a valid and valuable way to streamline business operations and even positively impact the bottom line.

ConservaCube Innovation

The Primary Packaging Promise

Primary Packaging Inc. is committed to environmentally responsibility. It aims to eliminate or reduce waste, as well as track and report what materials go into the waste stream. Part of our mission is to find or develop solutions for any customer that comes to us with a new packaging challenge. We can only continue to maintain a zero-plastic-waste operation by emphasizing social and environmental responsibility for the products we manufacture. We value the safety of our employees and customers along with the communities where we operate.

How can innovation lead to victories for the environment and the bottom-line?

As a company, we make innovation a focal point to positively impact our customers’ bottom line as well as our relationship with the environment and our communities. Whether through source reduction practices in PCR or the use of water-based inks or recycling our in-house plastic waste, we understand that an environmentally sustainable business is a sustainable business model. If we don’t work more holistically within the supply chain and engage the brands and retailers, then we will not be able to effectuate change.

Learn more about PPI’s Post-Consumer Recycled Content.