For decades plastic materials have helped provide us with products that help us live a clean, healthy and efficient lifestyle and are used in a vast range of products from plastic bottles, cups and plates, to composite furniture and building products, and even in automotive components.
However, for all of the benefits that plastics afford us in modern society, it comes at a cost in regards to the natural resources required and the environmental impact during their lifecycle. As a result, studies have shown that consumers and brand owners are becoming increasingly more concerned with the sustainability of their packaging. In addition, organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) have encouraged the development of innovations that reduce petrochemical usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and other pollutants over a product’s lifecycle.
One way that you can help to reduce the environmental footprint of your packaging is through the use of a mineral filler such as Calcium Carbonate. Calcium carbonate is the main mineral found in limestone, marble and chalk, and is a natural resource that can be found in all parts of the world. Not only does the use of this mineral offer cost savings through the displacement of resin but adding calcium carbonate to plastic has also been shown to offer added benefits such as faster heating and cooling, significant energy savings as a result of improved productivity, and higher outputs. As a result of these benefits, the use of CaCO3 in plastics has been steadily increasing over the years.
In addition to these benefits, adding CaCO3 into plastic products has also been shown to lower the greenhouse gas impact of the end-use product. The use of CaCO3 in plastics reduces petrochemical and energy usage during the manufacturing process, minimizing the carbon footprint and greenhouse gas impact of finished plastic products. Studies conducted have shown that using a 40% loaded calcium carbonate filled polypropylene can generate a Green House Gas savings of approximately 23% – and this is before taking into consideration the increased productivity mentioned.
Additional, displacing just 20% of petrochemicals with calcium carbonate additives can result in significant environmental benefits including:
- 15-20% overall energy savings
- 16-20% reduction in the use of crude oil
- 15-19% reduction in the use of natural gas
- 12-17% reduction in the use of coal
- 12-16% reduction in the use of electricity
- 13-17% reduction of greenhouse gasses
- 15-20% reduction of oxides of sulfur (SOx)
- 13-17% reduction of oxides of nitrogen (NOx)
- 11-15% reduction of particulates
(extracted from Impact Plastic)