News

Packaging the Future with our Customers in Mind

February 15, 2023

With 2023 off and running, Plastipak plans to make our biggest strides yet in advancing the industry of responsible, sustainable packaging design. On top of developing waste-eating fuel generators and leading the industry in bottle-to-bottle recycling, our commitment to our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals continues to be a strength at Plastipak in recent years. Our company’s dedication to environmental sustainability is fundamental to our business strategy—it is a driving force behind why Plastipak is successful today, and it will continue to lead us to groundbreaking innovations in the future. While we are proud of our accomplishments in recent years, Plastipak’s pursuit of clean energy and zero-waste operating facilities is only getting started. By leveraging data from previous years and the new-age concepts developed by our team members, Plastipak is positioned better than ever to make positive impacts for our industry and for our environment.

Measuring Our Emissions To Understand Our Impact 

To fully understand our impact, we needed to quantitatively measure the emissions generated by our facilities. Our partnership in 2021 with the leading independent carbon reduction expert, Carbon Trust, enabled Plastipak to calculate our carbon inventory and identify opportunities for reduction.-. Data are measured and broken down into three scopes: Scope 1 & 2—emissions directly from operations—and Scope 3, which are emissions that occur across the entire chain of production.

After Carbon Trust’s assessment, we know 13 percent of organizational emissions are a direct result of Plastipak business operations (Scope 1 & 2). The market-based carbon assessment found that the vast majority of Plastipak’s Scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas emissions—96 percent—come from the electricity we use during production.

The solution to significantly reduce Scope 2 emissions is relatively simple: switch to electricity from renewable sources where feasible, and, for Scope 1, electrify vehicles and processes that run on fossil fuels (e.g. natural gas or propane) wherever possible.

Our facilities use as much green energy as possible in each location around the world. As of January 2022, 100 percent of electricity used in European Plastipak plants comes from renewable sources, and similar progress has been made in Brazil. In North America, seven of our operational facilities have been certified as emissions-free.

In parallel, Plastipak also seeks to use less energy, and make a lesser impact that way too.  Plastipak’s Energy Reduction Team (ERT) is working towards that goal. To get us there, the ERT proactively works with our plants with four primary goals in mind:

  • Refining the resin-drying process;
  • Improving injection molding procedures;
  • Modernizing company chilling plants and pumping systems;
  • Monitoring and adjusting our use of compressed air

Our next major challenge is Scope 3, however, and our plans to reduce emissions in that stage are well underway as we work and encourage our supply chain partners to follow similar sustainability practices, as well as initiatives such as encouraging the uptake of post-consumer recycled content in the packaging we produce.

Reducing Waste to Minimize Our Carbon Footprint 

This is a top priority here at Plastipak. By focusing on clean, renewable energy sources and getting creative with methods to use the waste left over from our production process, Plastipak is excited about how much we’ve achieved in the green energy and decarbonization space in a matter of just a few years.

Those successes led to the creation of Plastipak’s Wipe Out Waste initiative: an ambitious goal to get all of Plastipak’s locations to produce zero landfill waste by the end of 2024. By pursuing this goal, not only do fewer non-recyclable items end up in landfills, they end up as energy that feeds into local energy grids.

In addition, Plastipak continues its partnership with BioteCH4 as we collaborate to turn food and agricultural waste into electricity. Using an anaerobic digestion process, biogas produced from food waste is converted in to electricity, which in turn powers our UK Clean Tech PET bottle-to-bottle recycling site. that give new life to previously used consumer plastic goods. 

Innovation for Good

With many many brands making commitments to implement sustainable and recyclable packaging in the years ahead, innovation in design will be a key driver in helping customers achieve these goals.

Plastipak’s Creative Packaging (CP) Studios bring our design and engineering experts and customers together to create a solution that meets the needs of the market and gives them a competitive advantage. 

Through a series of brainstorming and design sessions, our studio team engages with our customers to understand their goals and their audiences. Together we analyze features from squeezability to opening ease, to transform functionality and design optimal packaging for the customer.

When it’s time to test the design, we invite customers back to the studio to see the proposed product designs in a virtual shelf environment—giving them the opportunity to compare the design to current market offerings. Additionally, we offer early-stage consumer feedback and eye-tracking data to give customers the crucial insights they need to ensure a successful market launch.

Ready to give your products’ packaging an innovative new look? From brainstorm to prototype, we’re here guide you. Get in touch with us by reaching out to contactus@plastipak.com.
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