As usual, plastic waste is front and center in the news. “It’s polluting oceans, filling up landfills, not degrading or going away, and as quickly as we make new plastic products and package things in single use plastic packaging … all this plastic waste compounds and gets worse.”
Finally.. big companies and big brands are definitely listening. To who? To consumers that care and make purchasing decisions with sustainability and social purpose in mind. Big companies and big brands have been announcing big plastic-related sustainability commitments. Examples.
- PepsiCo North America’s achievement of 95% recyclable plastic packaging
- Nestle’s commitment to phasing out non-recyclable plastics by 2025
- KFC’s goal of 100% recoverable or reusable plastic-based packaging by 2025.
Clearly, Corporate America is (all in) committing themselves to tackling the plastic waste problem. The question is..
IS RECYCLING “THE” SOLUTION?
We along with many Consumers are big advocates of plastic recycling. The good news is 55% of consumers claim to recycle everything that can be recycled? The not-so good news is when you drill into the actual (data), what consumers really mean is they recycle the stuff that’s (conveniently) located near their recycling bin in the kitchen, yet in reality everything else hits the trash.
The Take Away.
What we’ve learned is consumers care about our environment, they are proud of their efforts to protect our environment, they make purchasing decisions in part based on our environment, but … we also learned that consumers are actually a tad lazy about recycling.
What Does That Mean to Businesses and Brands?
It means Opportunity & Responsibility. Big business and big brands are making it easier for consumers to “feel good” about their sustainability efforts by taking charge, by making products and packaging that are more sustainable and socially purposeful, by implementing a variety of plastic recycling and sustainability initiatives, in essence doing the hard work on behalf of the consumer.
Challenges are abound …
As a result of consumer recycling “inaction” and multiple challenges including (1) lack of government or financial incentive to invest in recycling & sustainability, (2) limited supply chain collaboration, (3) challenging economic and market conditions, (4) heavy risk investing in recycling infrastructure, and (5) China refusing to accept the 30-40% of plastic recyclables we used to ship overseas, the vast majority of recyclable thermo plastic materials, like 90%, still get trashed (Landfilled)!! That’s the reality we are living in. 90%.
THAT MEANS ONLY AROUND 10% OF THE THERMO PLASTIC MATERIALS WE USE THAT COULD BE RECYCLED, ACTUALLY GET RECYCLED.
So if you are a big company, or a big brand, and you generate “branded trash including branded plastic waste … just know that 90% of your branded plastic trash is winding up in our landfills or natural ecosystem with your hand prints all over it! Apologies for being harsh.
As circular economy plastics sustainability advisors, we spend our waking business hours helping companies, brands, manufacturers, distributors, recycling firms solve their plastic waste issues, including recycling, redesign, reuse, recollection, technology, innovation, circular economy, and so on.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
After 30 years involved in plastics recycling sustainability and circular economy solutions, and 900m pounds of hands-on experience, we’ve learned there’s no cookie cutter approach to plastics sustainability and there’s no “one single solution” to solving the plastic waste issue.
One new plastic sustainability concept that launched recently represents a new option to deal with “branded plastic trash”. It’s known as reusable rather than single-use recyclable products. Nestle, P&G, PepsiCo, Unilever and other major brands and companies are joining to participate in a new reusable home goods subscription service known as Loop.
Loop was created by TerraCycle, who’s been an innovator in sustainability for years. We applaud them! Similar to the old school “milk delivery” practice from long ago, products come delivered to your doorstep in a reusable shipping container and all in reusable packaging: simply return and reuse. It’s way too early to tell how Loop will fare (and there is still the question of carbon impact associated with the service) but it’s another exciting innovative example of rethinking solutions to the plastic waste crisis. Whether Loop works or not, or any of the many other sustainability initiatives under way, the bigger point is, we (all) need to rethink how we interact with plastics.
TIME TO RETHINK
- How we buy and use plastic raw materials to make plastic products and packaging and how manufacturers can increase their use of recycled plastic resins and additives that support plastic sustainability. Increasing use of recycled plastic raw materials including Bulk Sustainable Raw Material Purchasing, can help make plastic-products more sustainable and build the “demand” for recycling infrastructure long term. GearedforGreen’s eco supply chain not only supplies more than 1B Pounds of Sustainable Plastic Resins annually, we provide total support every step of the way from lab to your production floor, to help manufacturers use recycled and sustainable plastic raw materials most effectively.
- How we recycle plastic waste generated in manufacturing, distribution and after consumer use, including toll reuse, certified destruction brand protection, closed loop and open loop, connecting circular economies, creating end of use consumer incentives, building “social purpose” into recycling, and so on. The Plastics manufacturing and Packaging industries must remember that a substantial amount of industrial and commercial plastic waste gets generated well before it ever reaches the intended consumer. GearedforGreen helps manufacturers to recycle post-industrial and post-consumer plastic waste, clean or even contaminated, in many forms including rigid, flexible, and film, including HDPE, LDPE, HMWPE, PP, PS, PET, PVC, as well as many engineered grades such as ABS, POLYCARBONATE, ACRYLIC, NYLON, etc. Industries have the opportunity to rethink their own plastic waste management practices, rethink of plastic waste not as trash but instead as a circular economy raw material, and connect together to implement supply chain solutions to eliminate plastic waste.
- How businesses buy plastic products they use themselves in their own everyday corporate operations and what could influence them to make more sustainable purchasing decisions themselves. If businesses purchased more sustainably made plastic products themselves, they can help build recycling “demand”. Big companies, brands and retailers use quite a bit of plastic products themselves in their own every day operations. Just look around. Plastic can liners, trash bags, check out plastic bags, eCommerce shipping bags, stretch wrap, plastic poly bags & wraps, plastic shipping hangers, trash cans, recycling bins, plastic shipping pallets, dunnage and conveyance trays, storage containers, corporate branded uniforms and promotional products, and so on. You get the idea? These plastic products are all made from the same kinds of thermo plastic materials generated as plastic waste. Gearedforgreen helps turn all that plastic waste back into brand new sustainable plastic products. Buying GREEN not only raises awareness and educates stakeholders, it represents billions of pounds of plastic products purchased & used in everyday corporate operations that could be and should be made entirely in America and from 100% recycled plastics.
- How we connect collaboratively and transparently with our supply chains to create efficiencies, share resources, reuse plastic waste more effectively, design-out plastic waste in our products, re-design products for end-of-use recycling, use alternative packaging materials, and integrate innovations that support plastics recycling and sustainability. GearedforGreen helps industry connect all the dots within the supply chain… creating Connected, Collaborative, Transparent Circular Economies that collect plastic waste, turn it into clean high quality custom formulated sustainable plastic raw materials, and back into all kinds of consumer and industrial plastic products.
- How we communicate our sustainability and “social purpose” to create stronger relationships with employees, consumers, customers, supply chain partners, etc., to educate, raise environmental awareness, differentiate from competitors, and build more purposeful powerful brands. GearedforGreen helps integrate consumer market insight with social partnerships, including Lives Per Pound to help our clients enhance economic, environmental and social value.
To implement plastics sustainability initiatives for your business or organization, contact GearedforGreen – Daniel Schrager, President, GearedforGreen 888-398 (GEAR) 4327, email@example.com or visit www.gearedforgreen.com
Most Plastic Films & Bags including grocery bags, shopping bags, retail bags, Stretch Wraps, and Shrink Wraps are primarily made using #polyethylene based plastic resins, generally #lowdensitypolyethylene, #highdensitypolyethylene, #linearlowdensitypolyethylene, or blended #polyethylenes.
In all cases, polyethylene films & bags are 100% recyclable. Polyethylene is a “Thermoplastic” material and nearly all thermoplastic materials can be recycled because their polymer chains have been specifically designed to weaken rapidly during the recycling melting process, turning into a viscous liquid that can be reshaped into all kinds of new products, including new films, bags and even rigid plastic materials too.
When it comes to plastic film & bag waste,
their are typically three (3) primary categories of plastic waste…
1. Industrial waste – that is waste generated in the manufacturing process which is generally cleaner and easier to recycle.
2. Commercial waste – that is waste generated after use but in tighter supply chains such as between manufacturing & distribution which is often still contaminated.
3. Consumer waste – that is waste generated after use by consumers which is generally more contaminated with both (plastic and non plastic contaminates) and more challenging to recycle.
The challenges in recycling Industrial Plastic Waste is that in many cases, the plastic waste contains heavy inks and possibly coatings which limit how much of this waste can be recycled back by the manufacturers. Also, these plastic typically are printed with “branded” content making certified destruction a requirement. GearedforGreen helps solve these challenge by using specialized technologies and by ensuring the plastic waste is recycled at facilities that track the certified destruction process.
Commercial & Consumer film and bag recycling comes with many additional recycling challenges, including much heavier degrees of (plastic & non plastic) contamination that must be removed prior to recycling. GearedforGreen helps solve these challenge by using sophisticated eco-supply chain film and bag recycling technologies including proprietary washing, screening, re-pelletization systems that remove a much greater % of contamination, producing a far more “pure” grade of recycled plastic resin that can be reused back into a wider more broad array of applications that can absorb the greater volume.
Another significant challenge in managing Commercial and Consumer plastic film and bag sustainability initiatives is managing the supply-demand dynamics as well as long term pricing dynamics. This is because the quantity and volume of commercial and consumer plastic film-bag waste is enormous, and in order to solve this issue longer term, we must utilize indexed pricing that links the value of scrap with the value of resin so that they both rise and fall together over time along with normal market conditions, to maintain a longer term value proposition for both waste generators and resin buyers in the supply chain.
Whether you generate plastic film and bag waste or would like to use recycled resins in you products, Gearedforgreen can help GUIDE you implement a successful long term plastic film and bag recycling initiative. In 2019 Let’s get Sustainable Together.
We hear this year’s Sustainable Brands Conference was super successful. There’s no doubt lots of great progress being made by corporate America!by gearedforgreen June 17, 2018 cardboard box reuse circular supply chain decoating technology Dow eco apparel eco brand marketing eco supply chain gearedforgreen plastic raw materials plastic recycling social partnerships sustainability sustainable packaging sustainableshopping
According to industry leading brands.. here are (3) takeaways you should consider if you want to build a more sustainable business and brand
1. Start adding social purpose to your brand sustainability initiatives
Kirti Singh, VP of Analytics and Insights at P&G spoke passionately about this. We’ve all pondered about what our brands “do for people” and how they “make people feel”. The notion of how our brands make society better is an increasingly important conversation in consumer product industries.
We highly encourage all of our brand clients to integrate “social sustainable purposeful practices” as integral components of their business models, considering a brand’s physical, personal and societal benefit.
Social sustainability surrounds your brand with passion and purpose, creates your story, creates conversations around the table, and creates stronger connections with consumers and your employees.
As part of our inside-out sustainability approach, we help clients develop and implement their socially sustainable partnerships including using ocean 🌊 collected plastics back into products, developing sustainable collaborations around shared causes like “Lives Per Pound” using plastic waste to make products like water filtration systems that to save lives in developing countries.
When social purpose connects with functionality and consumer value, that’s the real grand slam! As example, Cold Water Tide uses less electricity (which results in lower carbon impact with every load of laundry), and actually goes easier on clothes ensuring they last longer. This multi benefits us consumers, our clothes get clean, they last longer and we lower our impact on the planet. Functional + Societal + Emotional benefits. Yeah! Let’s buy Tide!
2. Sustainable brands advocate with other brands
David Grayson, Chris Coulter and Mark Lee have created a framework and a book called All In: The Future of Business Leadership. The framework is this: Purpose, Plan, Culture, Collaboration, Advocacy. It’s a fantastic read.
We’ve been preaching for a long time that brands with a strong social and sustainable purpose are the ones that will thrive in the future. There’s plenty of research to substantiate this, which is why leading Brands including Proctor and Gamble and Nestle have been changing their culture as socially sustainable companies that care about our environment and us consumers.
3. Sustainability and consumer communities have embraced the false narrative that “plastic is bad” when in fact “plastic is vital”
We have been deeply-passionately involved in plastics, recycling, sustainable raw material, packaging optimization, sustainable technology, and circular eco supply chain collaboration for 20+ years..
We are proud to have helped many clients and supply chain partners to achieve significant sustainability enhancements including zero plastic waste.
For all us involved in the supply chain of Plastics and Sustainability.. it’s more vital than ever that we get active, get diligent, get involved in circular sustainability, collaborate, and change the conversation from “plastic is bad” to “plastic waste is bad.”
Plastic is vital! As example, transportation industries from trains, planes, and automobiles (great movie 😀) use plastic to get lighter and more fuel efficient. Food lasts longer with less waste in distribution, on retail shelves, and at home using plastics. There are literally thousands of applications where plastics make sustainability possible. Even single use plastics play a vital role in our lives and towards sustainability.
That said … we MUST all work together to solve the plastic disposal and ocean debris crisis!!! It’s real. Plastic and micro plastic waste is a catastrophic problem we as a plastics, recycling, and sustainability community must help STOP.
Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, as the “ocean plastics” issue gets talked about – and its talked about often.. attitudes perpetuate the notion that all plastics are bad. WE as sustainability service providers and sustainability brand marketers MUST CHANGE THE NARRATIVE from Plastic = Bad to Plastic Waste = Bad.
To learn more about strategies and steps you can take over time to become a sustainable company and brand, contact GearedforGreen – Daniel Schrager, President, GearedforGreen 888-398 (GEAR) 4327 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.gearedforgreen.com
We may be Green, but when it comes to your Sustainable Plastic Resins… We’ll help you achieve whatever color you want! Learn about our ONE HUNDRED % RECYCLED resin programs, strategies to increase recycled plastic resin usage and WHY, our on-site technical support and 24/7 plastics lab services, “designing out” plastic usage to make your products using less material, closing your plastics loop through circular sustainability, implementing toll reuse for plastic waste generated in your manufacturing operations, end of use plastics recycling for your products used in the market, and more.
When it comes to Plastic Packaging and Sustainability … are you leading fearlessly?
Successful businesses and business leaders most often achieve their greatest success by leading fearlessly. That’s what’s required if we are to achieve Plastic Packaging Sustainability!
Well-known packaging makers like Bemis, Pactiv, Berry, Dart, Sonoco and others are recognized as leaders in our plastics packaging industry but.. there are many innovative companies all throughout the supply chain from raw material, extrusion, thermoform, etc., that lead fearlessly making significant sustainable impact.
Many businesses in the plastic packaging space are involved in a variety of important sustainability initiatives that are helping to reduce our industries impact on our environment. Generally our plastics industry has lots to be excited about and thankful for!
But… If Plastics leaders intend to “Win The Sustainability Game”, they need more than the current efforts that solve “this problem” and “that problem”. They need to set one huge goal, a goal that’s inherent in their category, that solves a fundamental problem they and their industry competitors all share together, that once solved creates a whole new storyline for our industry, a new industry model everyone can follow, so when they solve it, they can achieve Dramatic Waste Enhancement, New Revenue, and Set their Brand apart in Circular Sustainability conversation.
If you’ve seen the sustainability statements from your favorite companies’ websites lately and checked out their goals and targets, you’ll notice they are all generally about the same. example – By 2020, reduce primary energy by 20%, greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, waste to landfill by 70%, water by 35%, 100% of products Cradle to Cradle Certified™.
All good goals but they will not make enough change in our plastics industry. We need to “design-out” plastic packaging waste!
At GearedforGreen, we help companies throughout the plastic industry to implement circular sustainability and connect innovation with eco supply chains to solve problems together that gain market advantages for our clients.
While there are many pieces of the plastics sustainability puzzle… the biggest piece of all is plastic packaging waste, helping tip plastics disposal rates above 90% in North America. Solving the Plastic Packaging Waste Problem represents the biggest Challenge in our plastics industry and the biggest Opportunity to Win!
As part of our sustainability initiatives at GearedforGreen, we help plastic packaging manufacturers and industry using plastic packaging to recycle their most challenging packaging waste materials. We focus on technology and circular supply chains.
Plastic Packaging that’s coated, layered, laminated, printed, colorized, metalized, etc., are especially challenging to recycle and much of this material, bazillions of pounds, are either unrecyclable, unmarketable, or uneconomically reusable, especially now that China has stopped accepting our plastic waste. The result for manufacturers is increased cost, lost revenue, and increased landfilling.
PET or BOPP or PS sheet laminated with Polyethylene or PVDC, Layered, metallic coated, nylon coated, covered in 75% color & print. These are just a few of the variations and challenges plastic packaging companies deal with that reduce value and prohibit recycling.
Yet the core polymers (thermoplastic) used to make these plastic packaging materials including polyester, polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, etc., are intrinsically valuable, recyclable, and reusable as new raw materials again.. if these surface coatings on plastic packaging were cost effectively removed.
The good news.. now they are!
THE CHALLENGE TO SOLVE THE COATED PLASTIC PACKAGING CONUNDRUM AND TREAT PLASTIC PACKAGING WASTE NOT AS SCRAP BUT AS FUTURE RAW MATERIAL, PRESENTS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR PLASTIC PACKAGING LEADERS THROUGHOUT THE SUPPLY CHAIN TO LEAD FEARLESSLY.
TECHNOLOGY IS ONE PART OF THE EQUATION
To solve the technology issue, GearedforGreen Sustainable Supply Chain uses patented proprietary plastic de-coating technology that enables us to cost effectively remove almost all surface coatings from plastic packaging materials, bringing the materials back to their original clear and white origin, surface coatings removed, without causing additional heat history or polymer degradation. We provide plastic de-coating services including FDA compliancy, on a direct toll basis or circular toll basis connecting clients, receiving millions of pounds of coated challenging plastic packaging materials and returning back these plastics as clean clear raw material, now perfectly suitable to be reused back as sustainable raw material. Our goal is to partner with industry to scale our technologies and increase plastic packaging recycling & reuse throughout North America and globally.
A CONNECTED ECO SUPPLY CHAIN IS THE 2nd PART OF THE EQUATION
Individually we can make valuable strides toward a more sustainable plastics industry but … when we join and connect our efforts together along with our supply chain partners, we increase innovation and reduce cost exponentially. We see a plastics industry connected – with plastic raw material suppliers partnering up circularly and transparently with sheet extruders, thermoformers, packaging manufacturers, and recycling technology providers, all working connected, not only recycling plastic packaging waste but treating it as a valuable raw material stream…
For those individuals and businesses involved in Plastics Packaging, we welcome your collaboration to lead fearlessly and help Make Plastic Packaging Sustainable Together.
By Daniel Schrager, President at GearedforGreen 888-398 (GEAR) 4327 email@example.com, www.gearedforgreen.com
WE ALL KNOW DOING GOOD MAKES US FEELS GOOD. SO IN 2018 LETS ALL DOUBLE OUR EFFORTS TO ACHIEVE “ZERO PLASTICS WASTE” AND SHOW IT… SO WE CAN ALL FEEL GOOD!
Among our GearedforGreen missions is helping clients make and use plastic products more sustainably from inside-out, and show them ways to leverage their sustainability in their markets to build more sustainable purposeful brands, to educate stakeholders, and to share the “feel good” with their employees, customers & supply chain partners. Showing your sustainability matters!
In 2017 our clients made great internal sustainable strides! Some achieving zero plastic waste in their operations ♻ others achieving 100% use of recycled plastic resins as replacements instead of prime virgin materials in their products ♻. This year we had clients participate in new “Social Partnerships” using ocean collected plastic resins in their products ♻ and we had clients optimize & reuse their plastics packaging materials to use less raw material and recover what they wasted. ♻ In 2017 we had clients and supply chain partners connect in closed Loop plastic recycling programs and in GearedforGreen Toll Reuse circular supply chains to reuse their own plastic waste materials back into their own products. ♻ This year our clients implemented end-of-use take-back programs to re-collect, recycle, and repurpose their own plastics products after use in the market, and many of our clients started using sustainable American made industrial products and corporate branded eco apparel and uniforms for their own everyday operations.
Looking back .. In 2017 our clients made a difference!
We hear from clients all the time, how sustainability has added a common purpose & pride shared between their employees and helped strengthen their corporate culture.
People feel good doing good!
We cannot say it enough… “There is a significant difference between internal sustainability in our products, packaging, and operations, versus external sustainability that touches, teaches & inspires our customers and employees”. You can’t preach external sustainability without doing the work internally, but … external sustainability matters a lot if you want to educate & inspire employees and customers and build a more socially purposeful brand.
“We must never underestimate the importance of inspiration”
To help make sustainability more impactful for our clients, to help move the needle with respect to top line revenue and brand value, we focus on helping clients implement programs that share our clients sustainability stories with those that matter most to them, to connect their sustainability efforts from inside-out. “Sharing our Sustainability isn’t about self-promotion… it’s about connecting and creating bonds with people that care and matter”.
It’s been well documented by industry leading brands including Unilever, Proctor and Gamble, and many others … that Communicating your Sustainability helps build stronger bonds between businesses, brands, supply chain partners, and customers, and has a positive impact on sales and revenue.
So in 2018 let’s all double efforts together to connect sustainability from inside-out and SHARE THE ❤♻
By Daniel Schrager, President at GearedforGreen 888-398 (GEAR) 4327, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.gearedforgreen.com
4. Reusing used cardboard boxes is not only more sustainable than recycling … it can be more profitable too.by gearedforgreen July 13, 2017 ACC cardboard box reuse cardboard boxes Dow eco apparel eco brand marketing eco supply chain gearedforgreen packaging plastic raw materials plastic resins recycling social partnerships sustainability
For years recycling cardboard boxes has been a centerpiece for corporate recycling programs. Cardboard is widely recyclable and for years there has been relatively strong domestic & international markets for corrugated material. Corrugated cardboard scrap also known as OCC (old corrugated cardboard) is generated by many local, regional, national businesses across industries. In 2016 more than 40 million tons of paper related scrap was recycled, much of which was cardboard.
While cardboard box recycling is an excellent approach to handling used boxes, cardboard box reuse, when applicable, offers even better improved (economic, environmental, and productivity) benefits up & down the supply chain.
As a sustainability company involved in circular eco-supply chains, GearedforGreen looks for ways to improve ROI in REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE ♻ programs for clients. Cardboard box reuse is a great approach to improved ROI.
We work with many companies generating good quality 1x used cardboard boxes perfectly capable of reuse, and with many businesses concurrently looking to find good quality suppliers of 1x used cardboard boxes as alternative to having to pay up & buy new boxes.
As part of our eco supply chain sustainability program, our GearedforGreen network connects companies and industries matching used cardboard box suppliers and buyers, helping everyone in the supply chain improve economic, environmental, and productivity ROI.
Many companies involved in manufacturing receive parts and components delivered in cardboard boxes they use just 1x. Many other companies including retailers and distributors use huge amounts of cardboard boxes to send products inter-company between facilities and to trading partners. There is a substantial reuse marketplace for all these 1x used cardboard boxes. Managing the connection between the two is no easy task however, so we partnered with industry to maximize box reuse ROI making cardboard box 📦 reuse valuable and mainstream.
In terms of environmental benefit and ROI, reusing cardboard boxes versus recycling reduces carbon footprint 👣 CO2 substantially and requires far less resources including water and energy consumption. Clients participating in GearedforGreen “Pack Share” box reuse programs also get monthly environmental reports including Life Cycle Assessment documentation showing carbon savings, which are helpful to sustainability score cards. For those businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint, cardboard box reuse is a great option.
In terms of man hour productivity benefits and ROI, reusing cardboard boxes versus recycling reduces man hours by $30.00 per ton on average associated with reduced labor and handling not having to bale cardboard boxes, and reduced movement from 3 touch points down to 1 touch point, not having to triple handle boxes from generation point to baler to trailer.
In terms of economic benefits and ROI, reusing cardboard boxes versus recycling increases revenue for suppliers in our network 40%-60% on average over the last 5 years, reduces customer cost of boxes in our network by 25%-30% on average over the last 5 years, and provides a far more consistent dependable market as a result of getting fixed annual prices for box reuse instead of fluctuating OBM prices for recycling. Box reuse programs also reduce transportation cost, reduce labor cost, and reduce equipment cost associated with baling.
The infrastructure and client base to support large expansion
in the cardboard box reuse market is significant.
To serve the growing box reuse market, GearedforGreen eco-supply chain network focuses on four (4) areas; warehousing collection sortation, logistics transportation service, environmental CSR compliance documentation, and circular supply chain partner expansion.
- Today we host 30+ regional sorting collection facilities throughout the United States providing local warehouse collection / sortation / quality control resources for suppliers and customers in our “Pack Share” box reuse network.
- We provide full transportation logistics services including drop trailer programs at more than 250 facilities across America.
- We provide monthly CSR environmental reports documenting carbon footprint saving.
- To support the growing demand for reliable box reuse nationwide, GearedforGreen eco supply chain partnerships include the largest network of collection, sortation, quality control providers, and end user customers making us the largest network for 1x used cardboard boxes in America.
It is widely known that sustainability and circular supply chain initiatives can reduce cost, add efficiency, increase innovation, and strengthen and improve supply chain partnerships. Leading businesses worldwide are incorporating circular sustainable supply chains into their operations quickly.
Less known yet equally important, sustainability can significantly improve customer-consumer relationships leading to improved brand value and top line revenue. By effectively communicating your sustainability initiatives, businesses can leverage their sustainability in the market to gain significant advantages. We urge all our clients to engage in consumer facing eco brand initiatives that connect with consumers.
To learn more about our GearedforGreen eco-supply chain sustainability services and how our “Pack Share” Cardboard Box Reuse program increases your economic, environmental, and productivity ROI, please contact us at 888-398-GEAR (4327), email@example.com, or visit us at www.gearedforgreen.com.
If your sustainability strategy isn’t making profound improvement to your business, helping grow top line revenue, build a more valuable purposeful brand, and operate your business with less waste & greater efficiency … you may want to consider a divorce.
We aren’t obligated to stay married to supply chain partners if they aren’t continually helping us profoundly grow a more successful sustainable business. Yet, by partnering stronger and collaborating on circular sustainable initiatives that benefit everyone within the supply chain, we can all grow smarter, stronger, and more sustainable together.
WE ARE STRONGER SMARTER & MORE SUSTAINABLE WHEN WE CONNECT AND PARTNER WITH OUR SUPPLY CHAIN!
Coming from a plastics background myself, there are some things everyone in our plastics industry supply chain should consider:
- Is receiving $.25 (x amt) per pound from selling off our plastic scrap to recyclers really the best way to maximize economic value from our recycling initiatives? Plastic scrap may have even greater environmental, strategic, and social purpose value than simply treating it solely as a commodity.
2. Is using 25% (or x%) recycled plastic resins back in our products & packaging, instead of prime, the best way to set us apart from our competitors? Can we use strategically sourced plastic scrap better, to create market advantages?
3. Is reusing packaging & optimizing the size of our packaging the most effective way for us to gain shelf space? Savings in raw material cost and transportation are excellent, but can we also utilize sustainable packaging initiatives to strengthen our customer and consumer relationships?
“The correlation between sustainability and commercial success is like proper nutrition is to victories for athletes, or reading and travel is to lyrics for musicians.”
There is a correlation between our company’s sustainability strategies and our commercial success in the market. Isn’t commercial success why we are all in business in the first place? Aren’t we all pushing relentlessly to add the greatest possible “value” to our businesses, differentiate and sell over our competitors, and continue to grow more sales with new & existing customers?
Neglecting benefit is the same as neglecting opportunity to win! Yes.. we recycle our plastic waste because it’s good for our environment and helps offset our costs associated with production loss. BUT … when plastic recycling also helps us increase revenue, gain over our competition, grow sales and shelf space, and build a more valuable brand, our ROI escalates profoundly.
Sustainability has the power to profoundly impact and improve our businesses. We shouldn’t be asking our supply chain partners to come to us with better ideas. Our supply chain partners should be relentlessly pursuing better ideas and helping us create circular eco supply chains that not only enhance our environmental initiatives, but connect us and improve our economic and brand initiatives too.
Big Brands should consider buying plastic scrap themselves. Here’s why.. Here’s how..
It’s a debate worth having. A great way to significantly expand plastic recycling is by expanding circular economies with circular supply chains that include Big Brands focusing on economic and environmental sustainability.
A circular economy will help ensure plastic scrap materials maintain economic value, have consistent markets, and importantly, a recollection process for used plastic products and packaging once they reach end of use in the market.
GearedforGreen works with many private and public recyclers across the country who want to get more involved in stronger circular collaboration with end user markets. In an eco-supply chain, recyclers collect consumer and industrial plastic scrap materials on a local level, which get sold to regional processors and compounders who convert scrap into hi-quality plastic resins (sustainable raw materials), then sold to national manufacturers making all kinds of new plastic products, looped back again to recyclers at end of use. From start to end everyone involved in the circular eco supply chain is connected.
Eco-supply chains enable local, regional and national businesses involved in recycling and sustainability to collaborate stronger and transparently working together rowing in the same direction. Scrap is connected to raw material, connected to new products, connected to consumers, looped back connected to recyclers in a continuous process.
Without circularity, companies involved in collection, processing and compounding “go it alone”, struggling with up and down plastic scrap prices, lack of markets for many kinds of plastic materials, and an over reliance on export markets. Circularity gets everyone in the supply chain teaming up together and helps maintain pricing and cost transparency which benefits the supply chain as a whole.
We can minimize these challenges and increase & improve plastics recycling markets when Big Brands take lead, connecting in circular eco supply chains. Big Brands are themselves the biggest consumers of plastic raw material. Big Brands across markets like Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Ford, Nike, Budweiser, L’oreal, Gillette, and so on, should stop selling off their own plastic scrap they generate in their own operations, and instead do an about face, connecting in circular eco-supply chains and becoming significant plastic scrap buyers instead.
Why ??? Big Brands make lots of plastic products and use lots of plastic packaging, hence they buy lots of plastic resins to make products. Big Brands consume hundreds of millions of pounds of new virgin plastic resins including polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester, and other grades, purchased through non sustainable supply chains from producers like Dow Chemical, Exxon Mobil, Sabic, BASF, Chevron Phillips, and so on, made from petroleum and natural gas.
By shifting to buying plastic scrap and participating in a more sustainable circular eco supply chain, scrap becomes a more prominent part of the plastic raw material stream for Big Brands.
Here’s how.. Instead of paying Exxon Mobil etc. for virgin resin, Big Brands buy plastic scrap direct in the open market and pay Processors and Compounders to produce recycled grade plastic resins. Today recycled plastic resins can be made to many specifications, even FDA compliant. By approaching plastic scrap and raw material sourcing from the top down, Big Brands can help increase plastic recycling rates, manage raw material cost, and take greater responsibility for products they make by creating closed loop circularity.
Big Brands carry big leverage because of supply demand. Supply demand dictates the more plastic products we make and sell, the more demand there is for virgin or recycled plastic resins. It’s a matter of choice which kind of raw materials we buy.
A modest shift reducing virgin resin consumption and increasing recycled resin consumption can make a tremendous sustainability shift for several reasons.
1st, it creates larger more consistent markets for recycled plastic resins which creates demand, which helps moderate pricing and adds more pricing transparency down the line which ultimately helps increase recycling rates.
2nd, it creates an environment ripe for innovation and investment. As Big Brands get more involved in circular eco supply chains collaborating with recyclers, processors and compounders, everyone will invest more resources which leads to greater innovation, improved processes, higher quality, etc.
3rd, it creates the closed loop infrastructure necessary for Big Brands to ultimately take greater responsibility for products they make once they reach end of use in the market. It also facilitates increased consumer engagement and participation in recycling contributing to increase recycling rates. When Big Brands integrate consumer sustainability incentives with education, consumers start to take ownership of their sustainability efforts which creates even stronger bonds between Big Brands and consumers, which can also equate to increased sales.
It’s a debate worth having, but from our perspective, circularity and eco supply chains will enhance sustainability and increase plastic recycling rates down the line.
Why not utilize your plastic scrap for something incredibly INSPIRATIONAL with “Social Partnerships”. There’s tremendous value to be gained by doing good.
Most people are aware of the economic value of plastic scrap. Many kinds of plastic scrap materials get recycled, turned into all kinds of new plastic products. GearedforGreen helps clients recycle millions of pounds of plastic scrap every year. Recyclability is one of the wonderful aspects of plastics. For those “in the know”, that’s what’s called “thermoplastics”. Thermoplastics unlike thermosets can be re-melted over and over again, formed into all kinds of new things.
Old “pet” polyester soda bottles get recycled into new carpet & apparel products. Used HDPE detergent bottles get recycled into new decking products & park benches. Used polyethylene plastic grocery bags get recycled into brand new trash bags. We help recycle more than 150 different types of plastic materials.
The good news for industry generating plastic waste is, many plastic scrap materials maintain retainable “economic” value. In our circular eco supply chains, we connect plastic waste generators with “compounders” in our network that convert plastic scrap into sustainable raw material “resins” made to molders specifications, then connect those resins to manufacturers in our network that want to make their products more sustainably using recycled resins in replace of buying more costly virgin resin made from petrochemicals.
Actually, getting involved in a circular eco supply chain can create many economic advantages down the line. For businesses generating plastic scrap, circular supply chains enable you to offset some of your costs and gain some level of economic value. CFO’s seem happy with these financial off sets but... ask yourself a question. Is that the best “value” you can achieve for your business by selling plastic scrap materials as a commodity? For some yes, others no.
Here’s a thought we want you to consider. Ask yourself these 2 questions … “Why are you in business in the first place? And what is the actual impact (gain) your business achieves by selling recycled plastic scrap materials?”
Here’s a value analysis for manufacturers to consider. You generate plastic waste in your operations, and you sell off 40,000 pounds of plastic scrap per month as a commodity. You originally paid $.44 per pound for your widespec plastic resin, you generated 5% scrap rate in production, and you sold your scrap for $.21 per pound, so in effect you have a net raw material loss of around $.23 per pound times 2,000 pounds = around $460.00 loss recovery. I recognize there’s many ways to analyze this revenue loss recovery, and I welcome any market economic feedback on this analysis, but for the sake of this topic, let’s assume for argument sake your scrap sale value helped recover a relatively small portion of the actual loss associated with your production scrap.
Back to the original question. “Why are you in business in the first place? And what is the actual impact (gain) your business incurred selling recycled plastic materials?”
Most business owners we talk with agree, businesses are in business to make and sell product, generate profit for shareholders, create fulfilling environments for employees, and build valuable lasting brands. If you think about value that way, the actual economic benefit you receive by selling off your scrap plastic is small in relation to your company’s economic, employee, and brand goals.
When treating plastic scrap only as a commodity, the revenue generation or loss reduction associated with it isn’t remotely enough to move the needle up or down to make any significant impact on your business. But wait …”A💡moment “. Value can be achieved in many different ways. Plastic scrap may have far greater value beyond just “price per pound” economic value gained selling it as a commodity.
Your plastic scrap has environmental value! Sustainability value! Saving our earth value! Doing good for mankind value! Bonding with your customer value! In other words … it has “Social Purpose” value. Plastic scrap and recycling, when leveraged properly, can indeed move your needle!
Plastics can be used to make many different products used for all kinds of wonderful applications. Think about all the great socially positive humanitarian impacting products that can be made (if you partnered together) in the right eco supply chain that uses your plastic scrap, turned into products like – plastic water filtration systems that generate clean drinking water in third world countries, mosquito nets and blankets that protect people from disease, and many other plastic products that save and impact lives around the world.
For plastics businesses and brands looking to do good, there are great opportunities to connect “Social Partnerships” using plastic scrap to make socially purposeful products connected with causes that impact and unite people around the world. Social Partnerships can become incredibly inspirational to your stakeholders, employees, and customers and serve as a powerful connection that impacts your business & brand, adding value that’s far more valuable than $460.00 loss recovery.
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