Information on sustainable
packaging and materials

Explore material types, videos, academic articles,
circular economy and much more

Sustainable packaging?

At Packwise, we want to raise awareness about different types of plastics and their influence on our environment. We aim to clarify which approach is the most sustainable in relation to your particular needs and products.  

There is not necessarily a recipe for the most sustainable production of packaging. There are usually both advantages and disadvantages to most approaches to both production, material selection and reusability.

Types of plastics

Virgin plastic

What is virgin plastic?

Virgin plastic is a pure form of plastic made from fossil materials, produced for the first time, that have not been processed or used among consumers before. There is a big variety of virgin plastics. They can be soft or hard and can be used to from bottles, containers and pipes to sportswear and other textiles. The production of plastic is energy-intensive, as 4% of the world’s oil production only goes to the processing of plastic. The production begins with a distillation of the crude oil at an oil refinery and then is separated into smaller components. Of the oil products that come out of the distillation process, mainly gas oil and naphtha are used to make plastics.
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Recycling of plastics

Like so many other materials, virgin plastic can be recycled. When virgin plastic is recycled, it is transformed into recycled plastic and helps to promote the circular economy, where plastic can live on and be recycled again and again.
Although recycled plastic, as the name suggests, is made from recycled plastic, a small amount of virgin plastic may also be added when it is produced.
If the virgin plastic is simply thrown away, there is instead a linear economy, which can simply be explained by the fact that the plastic is produced, consumed and thrown away. Roughly speaking, this means that waste is actually produced, as the plastic is not recycled and its full potential is not exploited.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the collection of plastic by Danes. However, this does not mean that the plastic is actually recycled, as in the further process plastic is still sorted out for landfill or incineration.

  • The part of the collected virgin plastic that is recycled is sorted and recycled. Here it is converted into granulate, which can then be remelted and used to produce new plastic materials, thus becoming recycled plastic.
  • However, a large part of the collected plastic ends up as energy. As much as 63% ends up in incineration, where it is not recycled but instead converted into heat and electricity.
  • The proportion of collected plastic that ends up in landfill is a very small percentage of the plastic collected in Denmark. In 2016, only about 2% of the collected plastic ended up in landfills, according to the Ministry of Environment and Food.

Different types of virgin plastic

PET

Bottles (water, soft drinks, ketchup, beer and food containers)

+ Easy accessibility
+ Highly transparent and shatterproof
+ Pressure resistant

Heat resistant
Production leads to high CO2 emissions
Partly extracted from crude oils

HDPE

Shampoo bottles, household products, capsules and tubes

+ Withstand low temperature
+ Strong and rigid
+ High tensile strength

May crack under stress
Little or no UV resistance

Window frames, plumbing pipes, cables, flooring

+ Low thermal conductivity
+ Resistance to chemical stress cracking
+ Good durability

Heat resistance
Heavy

LDPE

Squeezable bottles, bags (food and waste)

+ Resistant to acids and bases
+ Can be treated as transparent
+ Easy to process and mold

Little or no UV resistance
Heat resistance
Prone to cracking

PP

Capsules, medicine bottles, microwave safe containers

+ Water, chemical and detergent
resistant
+ Good impact strength

Susceptible to UV degradation and oxidation
High flammability
Heat resistance

PS

Capsules, medicine bottles, microwave safe containers

+ Water, chemical and detergent
resistant
+ Good impact strength

Susceptible to UV degradation and oxidation
High flammability
Heat resistance

Different types of virgin plastic

PET

Bottles (water, soft drinks, ketchup, beer and food containers)

+ Easy accessibility

+ Highly transparent and shatterproof

+ Pressure resistant

– Heat resistant

– Production leads to high CO2 emissions

– Partly extracted from crude oils

HDPE

Shampoo bottles, household products, capsules and tubes

+ Withstand low temperature

+ Strong and rigid

+ High tensile strength

– Can crack under stress

– Little or no UV resistance

Window frames, plumbing pipes, cables, flooring

+ Low thermal conductivity

+ Resistance to chemical stress cracking

+ Good durability

– Heat resistance

– Heavy

LDPE

Clampable bottles, bags (food and waste)

+ Resistant to acids and bases

+ Can be treated as transparent

+ Easy to process and mould

– Little or no UV resistance

– Heat resistance

– Prone to cracking

PP

Capsules, medicine bottles, microwave-safe containers

+ Water, chemical and detergent resistant

+ Good impact resistance

– Resistant to UV degradation and oxidation

– High flammability

– Heat resistance

PS

Capsules, medicine bottles, microwave-safe containers

+ Water, chemical and detergent resistant

+ Good impact resistance

– Resistant to UV degradation and oxidation

– High flammability

– Heat resistance

Different types of virgin plastic

PET

Flaschen (Wasser, Softdrinks, Ketchup, Bier und Lebensmittelbehälter)

+ Leichte Zugänglichkeit

+ Hochtransparent und bruchsicher

+ Druckbeständig

– Hitzebeständig

– Produktion führt zu hohen CO2-Emissionen

– Teilweise aus Rohöl extrahiert

HDPE

Shampooflaschen, Haushaltsprodukte, Kapseln und Tuben

+ Widersteht niedrigen Temperaturen

+ Stark und steif

+ Hohe Zugfestigkeit

– Kann unter Belastung reißen

– Geringe oder keine UV-Beständigkeit

Fensterrahmen, Sanitärrohre, Kabel, Bodenbeläge

+ Geringe Wärmeleitfähigkeit

+ Beständigkeit gegen chemische Spannungsrisse

+ Gute Haltbarkeit

– Hitzebeständigkeit

– Schwer

LDPE

Verschließbare Flaschen, Beutel (Lebensmittel und Abfall)

+ Beständig gegen Säuren und Laugen

+ Kann als transparent behandelt werden

+ Leicht zu bearbeiten und zu formen

– Geringe oder keine UV-Beständigkeit

– Hitzebeständigkeit

– Anfällig für Rissbildung

PP

Kapseln, Medikamentenflaschen, mikrowellengeeignete Behälter

+ Wasser-, chemikalien- und reinigungsmittelbeständig

+ Gute Schlagzähigkeit

– Beständig gegen UV-Zersetzung und Oxidation

– Schwer entflammbar

– Hitzebeständigkeit

PS

Kapseln, Medizinflaschen, mikrowellengeeignete Behälter

+ Wasser-, chemikalien- und reinigungsmittelbeständig

+ Gute Schlagfestigkeit

– Beständig gegen UV-Zersetzung und Oxidation

– Schwer entflammbar

– Hitzebeständigkeit

bottle

How does plastic affect the environment?

Plastics degrade slowly, resulting in toxic fumes. Creating it requires large amounts of chemical pollutants and fossil fuels.

Plastic is made directly from fossil fuels, and is a non-renewable resource. If plastic is not recycled, more virgin plastic will be produced, putting a huge strain on the Earth’s fossil fuels. As global oil consumption grows faster than nature can produce more oil, oil will slowly run out.

1.7 million tonnes of plastic were produced back in 1950. That figure rose to a whopping 311 million tonnes of plastic in 2014 and is still rising.

Almost all plastic can and should be recycled, but it’s not an easy process for consumers. Especially because many plastic products contain several different materials, which makes it difficult for consumers to recycle plastic properly. Plastics are often produced from many different types of plastic or composed of materials other than plastic.

Plastic producers can play a major role in promoting the circular economy. One way they can do this is by designing products to be reusable and making it easier for consumers to recycle.

Virgin plastic at Packwise

Here at Packwise we have a wide range of products in different materials. We offer products like Airless bottle, Capsules, Cream jar, Cream pump, Deo roll-on, Dropper, Foam pump, Lotion pump, Make-Up packaging, Mist Sprayer, PET bottle, PET jar, Trigger Sprayer, Tube – all with the option of being produced in virgin plastic.

If you are interested in the products or have any questions for us, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Ocean waste plastic

What is ocean waste plastic?

Ocean Waste Plastic is man-made plastic waste that has unfortunately found its way into the world’s oceans.

Plastic can end up in the oceans for a number of reasons. Most often, it is purely accidental, where the waste is left behind, then blown by the wind, into the oceans. But there are also places where plastic waste is deliberately dumped into the sea as litter.

Most of the litter we find in the oceans comes from our activities on land, while the rest comes from our activities at sea. So much is discharged each year that it is equivalent to 8-10 million tonnes of plastic. On a day-to-day basis, this equates to 8 million pieces of plastic landing in the oceans every day.

The types of plastic products that most often end up in the world’s oceans are single-use products. Since the disposable plastics that are most common in the oceans are rarely designed to be used more than once, consumers do not attach any particular value to the products as they would to other plastic products. As a result, single-use plastics are much more carelessly discarded in a way that results in waste ending up in the world’s oceans.

Play Video about ocean waste video

What does plastic in the sea mean for the environment?

Plastic in the world’s oceans is a major threat. It threatens the marine environment in many ways, and it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the world’s oceans than there will be fish.

Many studies have shown that many of the particles that come from plastic are found in our drinking water, for example. Something we as humans use every day. Ocean Waste Plastic therefore has a direct impact on what we as individuals fill our bodies with on a daily basis.

However, plastic waste is not just something that pollutes our drinking water. No, it also affects the many lives found in the world’s oceans. Fish, shellfish and even the larger mammals that inhabit the oceans and coasts are greatly affected by the large amount of plastic. Ocean Waste Plastic is therefore very harmful to the many animals that live in and around the sea. What happens most often is that the animals mistake the plastic for food and either choke or fill up their stomachs with plastic.

Research shows that the many micro-particles from plastic find their way into the stomachs of even the smallest animals. This affects the health of the animals, but it also means the plastic affects the whole food chain and in turn ultimately us humans. Because when we eat fish or shellfish, they will often be full of plastic particles.

According to a calculation made by the University of Georgia in 2015, it was documented that around 8-10 million tonnes of waste are discharged into the world’s oceans. Before and since then, there has been a huge focus on collecting the plastic that floats around in the oceans and pollutes.

In 2021, the Dutch concept “The Ocean Cleanup” has helped to collect in the first quarter of 2021 alone up to 464,920 kg of waste from the oceans and this progress is therefore very positive.

How to collect plastic from the world's oceans?

Several concepts have therefore been developed to promote the collection of plastic waste in the world’s oceans. In particular, as mentioned above, the Dutch concept “The Ocean Cleanup” has developed a method for collecting plastic waste. This is done with a net and floating tubes that lie on the surface and are thus drawn through the water, which then collects the plastic waste. In this way, the plastic is collected and as much of it as possible ends up in the further process. The plastic waste can therefore be recycled into new products.

So what is the process once the plastic is collected?

Once the plastic is collected from the world’s oceans, it is taken to factories that sort the waste. It ends up in a sorting plant that can tell the difference between different waste and materials. Then the different sorted materials are sent to a new factory that can recycle the materials into new plastic. This new plastic is then ready to be used for new products.

Plastic in the world’s oceans is a major threat. It threatens the marine environment in many ways, and it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the world’s oceans than there will be fish.

Ocean waste plastic at Packwise

Here at Packwise we have a wide variety of products in different materials. We offer products like airless bottle, capsules, cream jar, cream pump, deo roll-on, dropper, foam pump, lotion pump, Make-Up packaging, mist Sprayer, PET bottle, PET jar, trigger sprayer, tube – all with the option to be produced in ocean waste plastic.

If you are interested in the products or have any questions for us, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Bioplastic

What is bioplastic?

Bioplastic is plastic made from biomass. These include plants such as maize, sugar cane and algae. It can be recyclable, biodegradable or compostable. The material is renewable, but its production has many negative consequences.

The production of bioplastics results in higher levels of pollutants (pesticides, fertilisers and chemical processing) from the farms that grow the plants.

There is a major debate about whether it is a good idea to produce plastic from materials that are also used as food. In this way, there is a battle for farmland and edible materials.The production of bioplastics emits fewer greenhouse gases. This results in intensive agriculture, water pollution and petroleum. Bioplastics that end up in incinerators emit CO2, while living plants absorb CO2. But since bioplastic is made from plants, it only emits the amount of CO2 that the plants absorbed before they became plastic. Which is often a lot less CO2 emitted than plastic made from fossil materials.

In that way, bioplastics sound like a better choice for the climate than regular plastic. But factors such as transport and energy come into play. Using residual materials with no further function to produce bioplastics has a lower impact on the climate than if the biomass is produced abroad and has to be imported. The process of producing bioplastics is more energy intensive than for traditional plastics. For example, the production of compostable plastic bags requires 2.7 times more energy than traditional plastics.It can therefore be difficult to say unequivocally whether bioplastics are more or less environmentally friendly than virgin plastics.

Play Video about bio plastic video

What is the difference between bio-based
and biodegradable plastic?

Bio-based

The bio-based plastics are made from biological resources, such as sugar cane, corn etc.

This type of plastic cannot be decomposed and should be recycled instead. The bio-based plastic can be recycled together with regular traditional plastic of the same type. This means that BIO-PET can be recycled together with regular PET.

BIO-PET and BIO-PE are both bio-based plastics. BIO PET is used, among other things, to make bottles, containers and boxes. BIO-PE can also be used to make bottles, but also for carrier bags, among other things.

Biodegradable

The biodegradable plastic can be made of biomass, but it can also be made of oil or gas or a mixture of these things. Biodegradable plastics cannot be recycled with other types of plastic. Under certain conditions, the plastic can be broken down and converted into water, CO2 or other organic substances.

Although biodegradable plastics can decompose, this should not be done in nature, but in composting plants designed for this purpose, as it requires the right high temperatures and humidity. If left in nature, plastics will decompose only after many years, just like ordinary plastics, because the high temperatures are not reached in nature.

Biodegradable plastic can be a hindrance to other plastic collected for recycling, as the biodegradable plastic can prevent the other plastic from being recycled. If biodegradable plastic is mixed with other plastic, this total amount of plastic cannot be recycled and will therefore prevent the other plastic collected for recycling from being recycled anyway.

Is a biodegradable plastic. It can be used, for example, to make disposable cutlery, food packaging, films and textiles.

Because PLA breaks down easily in the right facilities and because recycling costs are expensive, there is currently no opportunity to recycle the plastic. 

Advantages of bioplastics:

Reducing the consumption of petroleum oil, which poses a major risk to the environment

Bioplastics have a significantly lower carbon footprint than traditional plastics during the manufacturing process

Because bioplastic is non-toxic, it is thought to be safer for food use as it does not change the taste or smell of food.

Disadvantages of bioplastics:

Not all bioplastics can be degraded. Some plastics are labelled as bioplastics despite containing traditional plastics that do not degrade.

In addition, most bioplastics still end up in landfills where they do not have the right conditions for composting.

Bioplastic at Packwise

Here at Packwise we have a wide range of products in different materials. We offer products like airless bottle, capsules, cream jar, cream pump, deo roll-on, dropper, foam pump, lotion pump, Make-Up packaging, mist Sprayer, PET bottle, PET jar, trigger sprayer, tube – all with the option to be produced in bio plastic.

If you are interested in the products or have any questions for us, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Recycled plastic

What is recycled plastic?

Recycled plastic is plastic that has been recycled. It is an environmentally friendly packaging option that many manufacturers are using to reduce waste, by consumer demand and to reduce carbon emissions. For every 1000 kg of plastic we recycle, a whopping 1500 kg of CO2 is saved.

Plastics are made up of monomers, which are small molecules that join together to form polymers. These monomers determine whether the plastic can be recycled, depending on the number of them in the plastic.

For plastics to be recycled, there should ideally be only one type of monomer. Plastics with only one type of monomer are a clean material and are suitable for recycling. Pure plastics can be easily sorted and recycled.

Play Video about recycled plastic

Can plastic be recycled?

The most common method of recycling plastics is the mechanical method. Here, the plastic is sorted and made into smaller pieces, which are then turned into granules. The granulate is used to produce new plastic products, which are now made from recycled plastic. Every time plastic is mechanically recycled, it loses a bit of its quality. Therefore, when producing recycled plastic, a bit of virgin plastic can be added to the process.

It is not possible to recycle dirty plastic. If the plastic has food residue on or in it, it cannot be recycled. Plastics must be of good quality to be recycled. Each time plastic is recycled, the polymer chain gets shorter, which reduces the quality of the plastic. A piece of plastic can only be recycled about 2-3 times before its quality drops to the point where it can no longer be used. At present, there is a challenge in collecting plastic of a high enough quality to be recycled and produced as a new high quality plastic product. Because the quality of the plastic collected varies as much as it does, there is also a low demand for recycled plastic as a material for the production of new plastic. It is estimated that only about 6% of the demand for plastic in Europe is recycled plastic.

Benefits of recycled plastic:

The benefits of producing products from recycled plastic are that you save raw materials and reduce waste by recycling existing resources, thereby doing something good for the environment by emitting a smaller carbon footprint than when producing from virgin plastic.

Recycled PET (also called rPET) is as good as virgin PET and needs significantly less energy to produce. CO2 emissions are halved, if not reduced, compared to regular polyester.

The potential uses of recycled plastic are growing. Existing uses include bottles, bed sheets, clothing and many more.

Disadvantages of recycled plastic:

The disadvantages, however, are that it can be expensive to collect and process. Recycled plastic originally comes from virgin plastic, which means recycled plastic is not from a sustainable source.

VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) produced by recycling plastic damage the environment and pose health problems for those who use recycled plastic. Plastic resins are made from petroleum and can leak into food stored in recycled plastic containers.

Due to the variation and impurities in the collected plastic, staining is a challenge. This makes it difficult to maintain colours each time the plastic is recycled.

PCR-PET

  • Used for bottles, containers and boxes
  • Lower CO2 emissions than virgin plastic
  • Safe to use with food and beverages

PCR-PE

  • Frequently used bottles and carrier bags
  • Low absorption of water
  • Good at low temperatures
  • Good electrical insulation properties

Recycled plastic at Packwise

Here at Packwise we have a wide range of products in different materials. We offer products like airless bottle, capsules, cream jar, cream pump, deo roll-on, dropper, foam pump, lotion pump, Make-Up packaging, mist Sprayer, PET bottle, PET jar, trigger sprayer, tube – all with the option of being produced in recycled plastic.

If you are interested in the products or have any questions for us, please do not hesitate to contact us.