I trust by now we are all aware or we should be aware of the over use of plastic on our planet within different industries. Many companies in different sectors are tackling the issue by either using recyclable materials or a complete change of material for their product.
About 6.3bn tonnes of plastic waste had been generated globally by 2015, with almost 80% of it going to landfills or the natural environment. Despite extending the 5p charge on single-use plastic bags, major retailers in England still sold 2.1 billion in the last financial year. The worst offender was plastic film products, which include carrier bags, pasta and rice bags, and the film on ready meals, only about 3% of which were believed to be recycled in 2015. According to https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42652937
Using Biodegradable, reusable stainless steel and glass materials, rather than plastic, benefits the retail sector.
Over the last few years restaurants have decided to use biodegradable, reusable stainless steel or glass straws for their drinks. According to The Guardian’s recent column, fast-food chain McDonalds (which uses 1.8m straws a day) says “plastic straws will go by 2019”. You can find this information using this link https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jun/15/mcdonalds-to-switch-to-paper-straws-in-uk-after-customer-concern
Consumers have launched campaigns including The Last Straw, Straw Wars, Straws Suck and No Straw Please to encourage businesses to reduce use of plastic straws. The campaigns against straws gained momentum following the BBC’s Blue Planet II series which highlighted the danger plastic poses to marine life. Plastic hangs around a long time, and a lot of it floats, which also affects the marine life.
What makes plastic useful for people/retail companies?
One of the main reasons why we use plastic is because it’s strong, lightweight, mouldable and can be spat out in bucket loads on a production line. Acrylic is slick with polished edges so is a perfect choice for a high end product and that’s why we see it so often in a display environment. Plastics are used in thousands of products that add comfort, convenience, and safety to our everyday lives. It’s an amazing material and has allowed us to make a lot of advancements as a society, the problem is how we’re using it. A material designed to last forever, shouldn’t be used for items that last only seconds. So it’s time for a different mindset… Being educated on the issues to make an informed decision is 90% of the battle.
Is it always better to buy products made with recycled plastic? Yes. Are you increasing the demand for plastic overall? Yes. But, you’re also increasing the demand for recycled plastic which is an important part of recycling. Are you really recycling if you don’t support companies that are making products from recycled materials?
So what changes can be made in the POP industry?
Plastics offer a wide variety of materials to use in your POS / POP displays. However, not all plastics are suitable for every display. As with any other material certain designs require certain plastics. When designing a POS / POP display the most ideal solution would be to use a a different material for example MDF or metal. However, if plastic has to be a consideration; on the whole recycled plastic is definitely better than using virgin plastic.
One of the widest use of plastic in the POP industry is within the cosmetic sector, to gain a premium look with polished edges often cries out for plastic, but we believe with some clever thought and careful detailing the high end look and feel can be achieved with metal or MDF, or possibly a combination of materials.
We have worked on displays with our clients that request us to use new or different material specifications in order to continue with the approach to material utilisation. We continue to work with IIAA (The International Institute for Anti-Ageing, supplying thousands of salons around the UK and beyond with Environ® Skin Care, jane iredale® mineral cosmetics and the Advanced Nutrition Programme™) to produce premium displays whilst minimising the use of plastic. Priorities within recent project briefs for IIAA were to eradicate the use of plastic for their displays including the packing and shipping of them too. This does require a different thought process to the norm but is totally achievable as you will see below. Many more of our customers are considering the environment regarding the designing and manufacturing of displays, so it is definitely filtering through our industry.
Why not see what we could do for you and your brand by calling in on 01767 682756 or contacting us by email.