Top 3 Ways Manufacturers Can Decarbonize Plastic Products
Why is it important to decarbonize plastic?
Plastic revolutionized the manufacturing of products around the world. Unlocking low-cost, high-performance parts for everyone, everywhere.
Over the last 100 years, plastic has evolved in every way. New, high-performance plastic has been identified by researchers searching for the next molecule.
In the last 5 years, there has been a major push toward more sustainable plastic, that meets the existing performance and cost. This is one of the most important and complex shifts in business since the invention of plastic.
Plastic today has one of the highest carbon footprints of any material used in manufacturing. That is not the fault of the plastic, it’s the material used to make plastic. Plastic can be made from many different feedstocks, including agricultural products like hemp and forestry products.
The world currently makes 800,000,000,000 lb of plastic annually, and that number is growing. The real question is how can we make a plastic that has the same performance, the same cost, and a better end of life?
What are the top 3 ways to decarbonize plastic products?
Scope 3 emissions are one of the biggest challenges for manufacturers. Identifying paths to reduce the carbon footprint of the products they use is the most debated conversation at Fortune 100 companies around the world.
The reason this problem exists is because the process of starting an entirely new supply chain and product line that meets or exceeds an existing commodities cost and performance is an impossible task. These industries require time to optimize their processes and achieve those goals.
Thankfully, a few of these strategies are starting to bubble to the surface.
Natural Fiber Additives
Utilizing the existing agricultural infrastructure, the Heartland team has proven that natural fibers like hemp fiber are a suitable alternative to mineral and synthetic additives to decarbonize plastic.
By using Imperium at 20-40% by weight in a plastic part, manufacturers are able to reduce their carbon footprint by upwards of 50% without changing the plastic itself.
Imperium will enable manufacturers to maintain strength, reduce weight and cost while also reducing the carbon footprint of their product line. All of this can be accomplished without compromising the recycling supply chain of the future.
Natural fibers are a great step in decarbonization and can be acted on almost immediately.
Collecting, processing, and recycling plastic is a major opportunity presented to manufacturers. Providing near-virgin plastic is a powerful opportunity to tap into the circular economy, creating jobs and cleaning up our world.
The challenge associated with recycling is the collection process, encouraging people around the world to recycle is a systematic mental change to everyday behavior. And unfortunately, the numbers aren’t getting better.
Done right, recycling can be a low-cost addition to a plastic product that can further reduce the carbon footprint of the finished good.
Pragmatically speaking, bioplastic is all but nonexistent. There are major agricultural companies pursuing products that are made from Corn or Sugar, but the adoption is slow and the scale is lacking.
Producing bioplastic today cost a substantial amount of money but has the benefits of improving local environments and farming in rural communities.
In the long term, the transition of farmland from ethanol and bio-diesel to bioplastic will happen, as the transition from EV reduces the demand for both of those biofuels.
When bioplastic production solves its cost and throughput challenges, there will be a major breakthrough in global adoption and investment.
Where can I start on my journey to decarbonize my plastic products?
Connect with the Heartland team to discuss options for how you can begin your decarbonization journey.
Join us in creating a carbon negative future!