02 May Injection molding, sustainability & recycling
Injection molding is an efficient mass production method to produce plastic products in a fast, reliable and cost-effective way.
However, as with any mass production method, industry will have to innovate to become more sustainable.
The more products we produce, the more we are responsible for minimizing waste and reducing the use of unsustainable raw materials. In this blog we look at how injection molding can become more sustainable.
Let’s look at the big picture first. There are three main areas in which injection molding can become more sustainable: reducing energy consumption, minimising waste and reusing raw materials.
Both the injection molding machine and the auxiliary equipment require large amounts of energy to function. Although the injection molding machines themselves are becoming more energy efficient, the machines must also be used efficiently by the operators.
A sustainable injection molding company strives to reduce cycle times and minimize the inactivity of the machines. This not only benefits the environment, but also leads to lower costs per product thanks to a more efficient use of time and equipment.
Waste can result in a suboptimal production process in many ways. Transport can be unnecessarily wasteful. This is the case, for example, when products containing relatively high volumes of air are produced in Asia and transported to Europe or the US. These products can then be better made in on-site to prevent excessive transport.
Also, space waste can occur when containers are not fully filled. That’s why we always try to combine transport as much as possible so that we never transport half-empty containers.
Just like we always keep air freight to a minimum.
Plastic recycling does not make optimal use of the materials for a long time. Often different types of plastics are combined to be reused for low-grade plastic products, i.e. downgrading. For example, high-quality medical equipment would be given a second life as a plastic pallet or playground tile.
Fortunately, the industry is now taking important steps in the right direction by using horizontal recycling. Plastic products are collected and sorted within their own plastic polymer type. The material can then be reused to make the same product or other high-quality product of the same type of plastic.
Orange Plastics is a partner of the platform R2S. This platform connects end users with manufacturers, allowing consumers to return their plastic products for reuse as high-quality raw materials. Horizontal recycling benefits both our planet and production costs and is promising for the future. Would you like to know more about how this works? You can find more information on www.return2sender.org.