Plastic packaging also serves several functions in our lives:
- Protection: plastic packaging protects vulnerable products from damage or contamination by moisture, insects, gases, microorganisms, etc. while they are in transit.
- Preservation: plastic packaging also preserves products for longer and reduces waste by providing more time to people to consume or use it.
- Transportation: plastic packaging allows safe and secure transportation of products to great distances. It also saves space by making stacking efficient.
- Displays Information: plastic packaging displays information about the product, such as manufacturing and expiry date, nutritional content, etc.
Pros of Plastic Packaging
Plastic packaging has definitely made the lives of online sellers easier. With its help, online sellers are sure about the safety and security of their product until it is delivered to the buyer. The following are a few examples of advantages that plastic packaging has on offer:
Plastic can serve as one of the best packaging materials it is as strong as steel. This durability feature of the plastic packaging protects the product from wear and tear throughout the shipping journey. It is the best option for all types of products – from fragile and expensive products to perishable and hard products. Plastic packaging ensures that the products stay as good as new until they reach customers’ homes.
Plastic stands at number one when it comes to lightweight packaging material. As per a study, alternative materials, such as paper, glass, aluminum, paperboard, and rubber are 4.5 times heavier than plastic on average. The alternative packaging materials require substantially more material to create the same packaging as plastic.
Plastic packaging is both strong and lightweight. With this winning combination, plastic packaging protects the product and keeps them safe and secure. In fact, it also saves you from manufacturing as well as shipping costs. Also, as plastic is light in weight, it leads to its superior sustainability.
Plastic packaging is very cost-effective. The manufacturing cost of plastic is less than other materials.
First, it is inexpensive, and second, due to its lightweight, it helps save on shipping and transportation costs as well. So, it saves both in the cost of acquiring it and the cost of getting the products to the consumers. Its material resource efficiency also helps save money.
Plastic is extremely versatile, and it can be molded into any shape. Think of vast plastic packaging variety and you will see plastic films, bags, pouches, sleeves, trays, bottles, drums, shells, and pots.
It is difficult to think of a material that is more versatile than plastic. The following are a few things plastic can do:
- You can get custom-made plastic packaging to fit your product precisely.
- You can get plastic packaging into a sphere, box, cylinder, or any other shape of your choice.
- With plastic packaging, you can get a tight or simple open frame option.
- Plastic can hold any item, from hot and cold to acid and base items.
Though many think that plastic is dangerous for the environment, the reality is the opposite. Many of the qualities of plastic are environmentally negative, such as its resistance to corrosion. But these qualities make plastic very resource-efficient. Plastic packaging can be recycled frequently.
Plastic helps in every other aspect of life. It helps in storing food and water. Apart from being cost-efficient and durable, plastic packaging is heat and water-resistant as well. Some plastics are recyclable as well which makes them more efficient than paper alternatives like paper bags.
Cons of Plastic Packaging
Plastic is non-biodegradable in nature and because of it, it has become one of the harmful substances. The following are the cons of plastic packaging:
Plastic packaging is made of non-renewable resources. This feature makes it less desirable than other alternatives. Plastic takes millions of years to degrade. It only contributes to landfills and disturbs the ecosystem.
Burning of Plastics is Harmful
Burning plastic to get rid of it is not the right solution. When you burn it, it releases a lot of toxic chemicals that can impair the lives of plants and animals. So, it is harmful to the environment.
A large number of plastic bags are thrown each year. This garbage ends up in the ocean polluting it and disturbing the marine life and ecosystem. Also, sometimes the presence of microplastics in the food plastic packaging ends up on the food which may contain harmful compounds.
Common Types of Plastic Packaging
As said above, plastic is a very effective packaging material and is used widely all across the globe. The following are a few common types of plastics used in plastic packaging:
LDPE - Low-Density Polyethylene
LDPE is yet another commonly used plastic that is tough but flexible. It is an excellent barrier to water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. FDPE is an ideal option for food packaging. It is considered a safe plastic option and products made of LDPE can be recycled into bin liners, paneling, floor tiles, shopping bags, and shipping envelopes. Some common uses of FDPE include bubble wrap, zip lock bags, stretch film rolls, playground equipment, and grocery bags.
HDPE – High-Density Polyethylene
HDPE is a common type of plastic generally known for its strength ratio and versatility. It is resistant to chemicals as well. Its common uses include bottle caps, cosmetics, and bottled liquids like detergent, shampoo, and milk. HDPE plastic is a safe plastic and can be recycled into rubbish bins, pens, fencing, outdoor furniture, and detergent bottles.
Polystyrene or Styrofoam is produced in a foam or rigid form. When in foamed form, it is the best option for transporting either cold or hot food and drinks. The common uses of polystyrene include disposable razors, meat trays, CD cases, and protective packaging. Styrofoam has a very bad reputation for a recyclable material as it is hard to recycle. However, it still can be recycled into foam packing, insulation, vents, and flowerpots.
Polypropylene is a flexible but strong plastic that can be molded into a wide range of functions to suit your needs. This type of plastic can hold heated contents and it is resistant to chemicals and melting points. Polypropylene can be recycled into battery cases, bins, brooms, pallets, bicycle racks, and signal lights. Some of its common uses include plastic cutlery, containers, medicine bottles, PP strapping, and medical instruments.
Now that you know about different types of plastic materials for packaging, they can be used in a wide range of applications and are most safe to use as well. When using plastic packaging, it is important to emphasize its impact on the environment but also understand that some plastic materials are recyclable.