REMOVE: fourth R of the plastic sector

Once the “negative” or inconvenient factors for the Circular Economy have been identified, operators in the plastics sector should engage in a process of gradual elimination of them. Yet this often does not happen because, despite their negative impact being recognized and scientifically proven, economically or from the point of view of performance these materials are still affordable.

But is it really true? Or is it just a matter of routine? And today we still don't have a viable alternative?


Dangerous or just inappropriate substances

Hazardous materials are chemicals or treatments that pose a health and physical hazard and damage to the environment.
They are essentially the following: acids, caustics, disinfectants, glues, heavy metals, including mercury, lead, cadmium and aluminum, pesticides and some petroleum products.

More specifically for plastics: Bisphenol, phtalates, Mosh and Moah type mineral migrants.
Unfortunately, manufacturers often interpret the rules according to economic convenience and continue to use them.


The 7th Environmental Action Program established the need to "safeguard Union citizens from environmental pressures and risks to health and well-being" and, by defining a non-toxic environment with a long-term vision, it made proposals to address the risks associated with contacts with chemicals.


And how is it going?

Every year Eurostat publishes the results of analyzes made on some chemical indicators, identified to monitor the reducing of the production and use of chemicals that are hazardous to human health or the environment.

There is progress and this is because, in many cases, it is possible to replace these substances with other less harmful ones.


The PVC Debate: For or Against?

PVC is one of the most economical, versatile and popular plastic materials: it can be used in different applications, it offers good chemical resistance and a good mechanical rigidity.

Thanks to its repellency to liquids, gases and vapors, rigid PVC is suitable for the packaging of food and drugs.

One of its advantages is stability: being physiologically inert and stable, it is suitable for sectors where hygiene is essential, such as the medical or food sector.

If it is such a virtuous material, what is its problem? Some researches declare it harmless but many others underline its danger to the point that many companies have already eliminated polyvinyl chloride from products and production processes.


PVC impossible to recycle

PVC cannot be recycled due to the additives used in the manufacturing process necessary to make it resistant and flexible. These additives contaminate the entire process of recycling to the point that, recycling these products, would result in the creation of unusable containers. In fact, a single PVC bottle manages to contaminate a recycling process of 100,000 PET bottles.

Also in this case, we have identified the substances to be removed. But these are necessary to give PVC the characteristics that make it useful.

However, there are alternatives, and among them many materials of organic origin such as sugar cane. The good news is that packaging films created from these materials have the same economic convenience and characteristics that are no less than those produced with more traditional materials and processes.

Do not you believe it? Ask us.

See you next R!