We dedicate this month to the environment. From Witte y Solá we shared our actions and measures for the conservation of the environment. Also from MisTubos we want to tackle this issue that increasingly worries more people since it has a direct impact on our lives. The water we drink, the air we breathe, the energy we need… everything comes and is related to the environment. That is why it is so important to work to preserve it and care for it.
In fact, according to a study by the European Commission, the majority of Europeans are concerned about the loss of biodiversity and support stronger actions by the EU to protect nature and fight against climate change.
Environment and packaging
Packaging has a very important role in today’s society. They are in charge of protecting and conserving the product so that it is suitable for its consumption or its use and maintain its properties. However, it is everyone’s responsibility to make them compatible with respect for the environment.
Thus, when choosing a container we must take into account several factors, among which its impact on the environment and the use we will give it in the long term.
What material are they made of? Can they be recycled? Can it be reused?
Although there are materials with high recycling rates such as paper or cardboard or with a long life to be reused like glass, in sectors such as pharmacy, fine arts, food or cosmetics, the conservation of products limits the choice of the materials.
The 3 R: reduce, recycle and reuse
To conserve and protect the environment from our consumption actions, the rule of the three Rs is usually followed:
Therefore, when choosing where we keep the products we buy or in which container they are commercialized, we can assess these three factors.
Many of the containers are made of plastic. Thus, according to Greenpeace, the production of plastic in Europe reached 60 million tons in 2016 and 79% of the discarded plastics have ended up in landfills or in the environment. In addition, the Spanish Association of Aluminum and Surface Treatments (AEA), estimates that only 9% of the plastic produced and consumed worldwide is recycled.
In Spain, the recycling data for 2018 collected by Ecoembes pointed to 571,910 tons of recycled plastic, 260,023 tons of metals such as steel or aluminum, 612,976 tons of paper and cardboard (including briks) and 8,213 tons of wood.
Likewise, we must bear in mind what happens when the materials are not recycled.
What is its impact on the environment?
Depending on whether they are materials from organic or artificial sources, the impact of the extraction of these must be taken into account, as well as the time it takes to make it disappear.
For example, how long do the different materials take to decompose?
- A plastic bottle takes about 500 years
- A plastic cup 75 years
- Glass up to 4,000 years
- Paper and cardboard 1 year.
- Aluminum takes about 10 years to become iron oxide
Recycling makes a difference
Considering how much it costs for different materials to disintegrate in nature and the lifespan of each material, the main difference is found in recycling.
Both paper and plastic have limitations for recycling. While the paper loses part of the cellulose fiber that is made up in the process and requires adding new fiber from the trees, the plastic can be recycled five times or less.
So, what is the alternative?
On the one hand, glass bottles can be recycled indefinitely and produce new bottles without losing their qualities. Its only limitation is the color of the material.
Aluminum can also be recovered and reused indefinitely to produce new products. For example, new aluminum tubes as containers.
This constitutes a double saving: on the one hand, the economic, in terms of the high costs of extraction of materials such as aluminum and on the other, the environmental, exploitation of natural resources and generation of waste. Thus, recycling reduces the cost of producing new aluminum products and avoids a greater impact on the environment, both in the presence of waste and in the need to extract more minerals.
As explained on the e-commerce MisTubos, each aluminum tube can only be used once, but thanks to recycling, more than 75% of the aluminum is recovered, which allows it to be used again. In addition, Witte y Solá has a standardized process to recycle this product.
Caring for the environment is everyone’s business, so before you buy, think about which packaging is best for your product and the impact it has on the environment.