Microplastics are small pieces of plastic that are less than 5 millimetres long. These small pieces of plastic are the result of plastics breaking down over time when improperly disposed of. Over time, these plastic pieces have become even more prominent.
We’re delving into the world of microplastics, and packaging’s involvement. Read on to learn more!
More About Microplastics
You can find these small particles everywhere, even if you can’t see them. The smallest particles can enter human bloodstreams and have been found in lung tissue. The health implications of these findings is still unknown, though they are concerning; plastic pollution is no longer easily identifiable!
Since the invention of plastic in 1950, plastic production has grown about 8.4% every year until 2015. The lifetime of plastic products overall is very short. For plastics that we use for packaging, this life cycle is especially brief.
Microplastics have even become a part of our everyday lives. If you’re using any products that have physical exfoliants in them, these are likely microplastic beads.
Plastics In Packaging
According to National Geographic, 40% of plastic produced is single-use packaging. Plastic can be found in so many different components of packaging. From films, inserts, and even laminate finishes, there’s no wonder packaging accounts for so much of Canada’s plastic!
Did you know: half of all plastic has been made since 2002!
In Canada, we only recycle 9% of plastic products! The majority of plastic ends up in landfills or in incinerators, with 1% becoming plastic leakage (AKA permanent litter!). Though it’s only 1%, this portion of plastic waste contaminates our waterways, turning into microplastics as they degrade.
Based on a report by Deloitte and the Plastic Action Centre, packaging plastic waste makes up 47% of the plastic we discard in Canada.
Most plastics used in packaging (e.g., PET, PE, PP) have a high recyclability and are the focus of attention for recyclers given the relative high value of these resins on the secondary market.Economic Study of the Canadian Plastic Industry, Market and Waste
The dominance of single use plastics and additional colourants in packaging plastics make recovering value from packaging more difficult. Some manufacturers have made efforts to produce alternative plastics made of plant-based, compostable materials. While these are helpful and innovative alternatives, Canada’s recycling facilities are largely unequipped to properly dispose of these materials.
What You Can Do
It might seem obvious, but proper recycling is a great way to make sure that all of your plastic ends up in the right place. Despite implementing plastic ban regulations set to come into effect in December 2022, Canada has lagged behind in terms of their efforts to move towards a plastic-free economy. Other countries like Sweden have had robust recycling systems in place since the 1980’s, making the emphasis on proper sorting and recycling a regular part of the everyday citizen’s life.
If you’re looking to make the transition away from plastic packaging, contact us today! We offer a wide range of plastic-free packaging solutions for all kinds of businesses. Our knowledgeable Business Development consultants can help you learn more about what options would work best for you.