Use of Plastic in Packaging Industry

'Ban on Plastic use' is a routine in almost every government's action plan. Plastic, at consumer end is mostly used in name of plastic carry bags, as well as plastic packaging solutions. Carry bags is what adds to the greater proportion of plastic disposal but most of the plastic packaged goods also end up in their shells being disposed to trash cans or landfills.

Let us now catch some facts and figures about plastic dumps around the world:

  • Every year plastic bag disposal counts more than 500bn but less than 1trn. This implies 1mn disposals every minute.
  • Every country on an average consumes 6bn units every year. So, 16.45mn plastic covers or bags are in use a day, in a nation. On a global average, a Cuban uses nearly 2 bags a day.
  • An average family of size four accumulates almost 60 plastic bags in only 4 trips to grocery stores.
  • About bottled water, in India, with a population close to 1.2bn, about 0.34% of population use a plastic packaged mineral water bottle, every day. If we expand this we get to an exciting number; 'every day 4mn bottles' used in mineral water packaging are disposed to bins.

We only talked about drinking water bottle disposal, and other bottles which contained shampoo & body care products, medicine, grocery, confectionery etc, are not included in this count.

Two things can be intended about a package after consuming what it contained, reuse it or dispose it. Both reuse and dispose is not directly at consumer's discretion. Every package has certain directions mostly in figure, which instructs the consumer to either discard into a bin or can store under certain limitations. Following are a set of global standard packaging disposal & recycling symbols.

Universally, every packaging unit for a commodity should display these specifications for a consumer to abide by and hence, maintain a regular packaging cycle. Packaging companies that do not use these signs on their products are considered a cause of avoidable plastic product disposal.

This principle or signs apply for other packaging material as well, like tin, aluminium and card board but, plastic pack disposal is serious when compared to any other packaging material. An ineffectual fact known to many says, 'under regular unfavorable conditions, plastic decomposes in more than 1000 years'. Owing to this plastic has to be responsibly used and carefully disposed.

Though plastic recycling is a complex process every nation is seriously inclined towards implementing it on a necessity basis. Use of plastic carry bags is under scrutiny in many nations, recently India, which is laudable. Regulating carry bag usage will heavily impact plastic disposal but, plastic packaging material can only either be reused or recycled. In a country, how good the plastic recollection is, that better plastic recycling can be performed and overall, plastic usage cycle in packaging will be the best.

One question which could possibly arise at this point is, 'does any country perform a full extent of plastic recycle and reuse?' answer is 'YES', and the country is Liechtenstein, from European Union. Shall continue on it...