Plastic Ingenuity Thermoform Circularity Report

Say what?

Plastic Myth Busting

One of the most amazing parts of what we do at PI, is create solutions that will be touched my millions of lives on a daily basis. From preserving the food that we serve our families, to protecting the medical devices and medicines that we trust to save lives. Plastic is an excellent preserver of properties and attributes, while being easy to form and mold. But, more importantly, plastic has a lower carbon footprint than alternatives.

Why is that important?

We believe that climate change is the biggest risk facing humanity. We believe it’s not too late to prevent the worst-case scenarios. But plastics need to be a part of that equation. Here are some of the common misconceptions about plastic and the role plastics play in a circular economy that are detrimental to our progress forward.

Barrier Films for Food

Plastic Myth Busting

Throwing away items and having different recycling options
MYTH: Consumers just need to recycle more!

FACT: Yes, consumer behavior is very important, but only 52% of American households have access to curbside recycling programs. We need to expand equitable access to recycling for all Americans and build trust in the system.

Source: The Recycling Partnership, Paying It Forward

Global Warming
MYTH: Plastics are a major contributor to climate change.

FACT: Plastics typically have a lower carbon footprint than alternatives. A 2022 report from McKinsey found that plastics offer greenhouse gas (GHG) savings in 13 of 14 packaging applications studied compared to alternative materials. The GHG savings ranged from 10-90%.

Source: McKinsey, Climate impact of plastics

Plastic Recycling Bales
MYTH: Plastic recycling is broken.

FACT: According to the EPA, nearly 6.2 billion pounds of plastic were recycled in 2018. This figure provides evidence of a functional recycling ecosystem for plastics. We need to expand recycling access, fix system-wide challenges, support emerging end markets, and design packaging to be recyclable in practice for our recycling system to truly thrive.

Source: EPA Plastics: Material-Specific Data

Medical Plastics
MYTH: Plastics in healthcare settings are not recyclable.

FACT: 90% of healthcare plastics can be recycled using mechanical or advanced recycling processes. A vast majority of these plastics are free from bio-hazard contamination.

Source: HPRC Advanced Recycling Research

The Ocean
MYTH: There will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.

FACT: We need to address plastic debris in our waters, but this claim is unsubstantiated as an article from BBC illustrates.

Source: BBC, Will there be more fish or plastic in the sea in 2050?

Thermoforms for Strawberries
MYTH: Thermoforms are not recycled.

FACT: According to NAPCOR, 142 million pounds of PET Thermoforms were recovered in 2021. That sounds like a lot of material (and it is!) but we need to do better (and we will!).

Source: NAPCOR 2021 PET Recycling Report ($)