One of the fundamental tenants of the Industry 4.0 initiative is resource efficiency and eco-friendliness. The build-up of plastic waste is a growing planet-wide concern. Plastic waste must be reduced. Scientific and industrial advancements are converging on finding solutions to this growing problem. Approaches to reducing plastic waste include using less plastic and increasing and improving plastic recycle.
Recycling is not the only solution. Arizona material science company, Footprint, is championing producing eco-friendly materials to replace plastic. Footprint is focused on eliminating plastics through the development and manufacture of next-generation plant-based fibre packaging. Footprint aims to remove and replace all plastic used in supermarket food packaging with compostable bio-degradable material. Footprint targets all the plastic that we associate with food, supermarket food trays, cups, lids, take away boxes and a host of other food-related plastics.
We have our part to play, talk to your local supermarket managers, ask them what alternatives they have to plastic packaging. Talk to your favourite food takeaway restaurants ask them if they have bio-based packaging solutions. Start the conversation at the grass-root level. There is nothing more powerful for a business than unsolicited direct customer feedback.
Hard plastics have many uses, from automotive (dashboards and bumpers) and aviation (seats and internal walls) to suitcases and protective sporting equipment. These have been mainly produced from first use plastics. New technology is enabling the recycling of plastics to produce recycled self-reinforced PET. (SerPET). SerPET is a high value recycled composite plastic that can be employed in applications that have until now required new fibre reinforced composite thermoplastics.
We can again express our feeling at the car showroom and ask if the plastic dashboard is rendered from new thermoplastics or recycled SerPET.
Just keep asking.
The voice of the customer is decisive.