The growing worldwide concern about climate change and environmental impacts has caused many companies to evaluate their production methods and processes to help minimize harmful environmental imprints. Our products offer a way to help our customers achieve this goal.
Raw Materials Waste
According to European Union environment analyst agencies, when it comes to environmental sustainability, minimizing waste is the key to reducing harmful impact to the environment. Relative to other materials, the combined characteristics of BOPS make it the most efficient packaging material currently available on the market. Any company that wishes to maximize its raw materials usage efficiency needs BOPS as a part of their packaging portfolio.
Almost all food packaging ends up in landfills or is incinerated. The only plastic containers used for the food packaging industry that can be economically recycled are bottles. Although all plastic is recyclable, the variety of different products produced for deli, bakery and confectionary packaging make it impossible to sort, clean and reprocess for reuse in many applications. This means that whether you buy a PET, PP or OPS food container, it will end up in a landfill or an incinerator. Unti recycling processes can be developed to resolve this problem, we must focus on reducing the amount of plastic we put into landfills, and we must use products with the highest yield of energy recovery through incineration.
Compared to other materials, OPS is lighter and more rigid, allowing for significant materials savings by reducing the thickness of food packaging and thereby minimizing the amount of plastic thrown away each year. During the recovery process, the energy yield per gram of OPS is over 50% higher than PET and 64% higher than PP. When disposed of properly, the incineration of this material generates no harmful greenhouse gasses and improves the efficiency of the incineration process for other waste materials.
In addition to wasted product, wasted energy during production also contributes to a company’s carbon footprint. This waste depends heavily on the equipment and material being used. The two most commonly used types of processing equipment are radiation heating and contact heating. It has been calculated that contact heating equipment requires less energy through electrical usage and design.
Although OPS can be used in all processing methods, its unique heat conduction characteristics make it the ideal material to use with contact heating equipment. With low shrinkage of .06%, OPS yields more product per unit than any other competing material. OPS requires less energy to heat and process than both PET and PP.
A third source of waste occurs during the thermoforming process. This is the waste of raw materials generated from discarded raw materials and products. This waste is inherent in all thermoforming processes, but can be minimized through the type of materials used and the equipment used to process them. Contact heating equipment generates up to 50% less edge trim scrap than radiation heating equipment, which results in higher yields per unit of raw materials. This minimizes the need for reprocessing scrap, ultimately lowering electrical usage for the overall conversion process. Despite the processing method, using BOPS over other materials means less waste in the reprocessing stream, requiring lower energy usage over the entire system.
During the thermoforming process, one of the largest sources of waste are rejected parts, both from internal quality control departments as well as rejected products from customers. Both of these are expensive and contribute to inefficiencies. One of the most common causes for rejected product is due to the warping of trays after production. This warping occurs from residual heat remaining in the product. When stacked, the product does not hold its form, and as it cools in the deformed position, it ends up warped and often unusable by large companies with automated equipment that requires stringent uniformity.
Unlike PET and PP, which hold in significant amounts of residual heat, OPS cools very quickly, with no supplementary cooling systems required before stacking. This reduces rejection rates and improves overall yields.
A fourth source of energy waste is generated in the shipping of raw materials and finished product. Today more then ever before, the products you buy can come from anywhere in the world. This globalization is important for the advancement and development of economies around the world, but it has its costs. A product shipped by commercial shipping vessels uses fuels that generate the highest amount of greenhouse gas emissions, relative to other forms of transportation. This, combined with the distance traveled and the amount of fuel used, generates massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. This kind of shipping is necessary for many products; however, for product produced domestically, this cost should be taken into consideration.
All DFI Europe BOPS is produced domestically in Europe. Our centralized location minimizes the shipping waste of our products.
BOPS, with its lightweight and higher product yield, wastes less per unit for a full truckload shipment than any other type of material.
Zero Waste Industry
Through close evaluation of our production processes, our company has developed systems that allow over 99.9% conversion yield during production. Through close cooperation with our customers, we have further reduced our needs for prime virgin stock in our products by maximizing post-converter content of our materials.
Through close cooperation with our suppliers, we are in a constant search for the development of an efficient means of implementing recycling initiatives for PS food packaging. Our suppliers have made significant headway in this matter, recently developing a series of programs designed to generate streams of post-consumer waste of PS that can be used in certain applications in our products.