A lighter world with plastics!

From heavy duty to delicate: the magic packaging material

Several million tonnes of food and goods are transported from manufacturer to end consumer – from toothbrushes to heavy-duty machinery, fruit, beverages, meat or pharmaceuticals: the production of these goods often consumes a significant amount of energy and they have to be delivered to the customer quickly and without damage. There is hardly a material as versatile and as suitable for a high number of intelligent and environmentally-friendly packaging solutions as plastics.

Wafer thin film with a weight of only a few milligrams can protect and seal meat, fruit, vegetables, cheese and coffee while also ensuring that these products are still fresh and healthy when they reach their final destination. Fish is a perfect example: from the minute it is caught at sea to its final storage in the freezer, it needs to be kept cool at all times. This would be impossible to achieve without modern polymer materials.

No matter how wide the variety of plastic packaging, they all have one thing in common: they are becoming lighter, less bulky and more resilient. These features not only help cut down on the waste of valuable raw materials, it also reduces the weight to be transported and the corresponding transport costs for both disposable and returnable products. On average, plastic packaging accounts for only between 1% and 3% of the total product weight. It takes 2 grams of plastic film to package 200 grams of cheese. 1.5 litres of liquid can be safely stored in a bottle with a weight of only 38 grams and a tub containing 125 grams of yoghurt weighs only 4.5 grams. The ecological balance sheet of plastic packaging, i.e. the sum total of the corresponding energy consumption for production, transport and disposal and other effects on the environment is often second to none.

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