Plastic waste – why every gram counts

Plastic waste

In my 30 years of HDPE plastic bottle manufacturing, I have become an expert in every aspect of this business. And this is not by chance, but a lot of hard work.

As I focus my efforts on the finite resource that is HDPE, I want to make the world aware of an important point: full-loop recycling is hard, and it is capital intensive. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t recycle –  in fact, we absolutely must. It is a priority in my world.

I believe one of the easiest and simplest ways to lessen waste is to reduce the weight of HDPE bottles by one gram. In many cases, a brand owner and a manufacturer can just agree to reduce the weight of HDPE plastic bottles by changing the specification with no resulting impact on the integrity of the bottle. It is just a change in documentation. If that is a little concerning, or for some reason makes you nervous, then go with half a gram – every bit will count in the end.

Success in weight reduction comes in the form of predictable results from known process inputs, and more importantly, having those known inputs in control.

The products that go inside the bottles are made using strict recipes and quality controls. For the HDPE bottle manufacturing process – extrusion blow moulding – it is the same.
Plastic bottles are made from a range of materials, and are an engineered part of the bottle – they must be seen as this until the day they are consumed and tossed into the recycling bin. Bottles that are produced with a high degree of repeatability and are proven on the filling line build confidence in the people who fill them. This confidence will be the trigger to a successful weight reduction project. And this may also build the confidence in brand owners to reduce the weight by even more than one gram.

Without the confidence of the team filling the bottles, anything that can potentially change the bottles performance characteristics will be fought against hard, and the end goal of reducing the weight by one gram won’t work.

Considering the billions of HDPE bottles that are made each year of just one gram of HDPE plastic is removed from even half of them, then we will have saved an extraordinary amount of energy to produce this plastic in the first place.

And let us not forget the extraordinary amount of product that will be saved from landfill, or the effort having to recycle it afterwards.