What Is the Plastic Manufacturing Industry Doing to Improve Sustainability?

plastic manufacturing

Every year, we produce 300 million tons of plastic. Plastic manufacturing raises a lot of environmental concerns. For example, making plastic requires high levels of fossil fuels and energy.

Also, traditional plastics cannot decompose. This causes global pollution including in places that don’t use plastic.

Sustainability in the plastics industry is a priority. Continue reading below to learn more about the changes to plastic manufacturing.


The plastic manufacturing industry is inventing new, sustainable ways to make plastics. Instead of using fossil fuels, manufacturers can make plastic from other substances. For instance, plastic can be made from corn starch, sugar cane, and vegetable fats and oils.

With further research, bioplastics will have the same desired properties as traditional plastics. Bioplastics can decrease fossil fuel use. This helps us toward a more sustainable future.

Biodegradable Plastics

Most plastics made today are not biodegradable. Traditional plastics never break down; they break up. Exposure to the sun and water makes plastic fall apart. A piece of plastic will break up into millions of particles, called microplastic.

Microplastics contribute to pollution all over the world. These tiny pieces of plastic cause endocrine disruptions, infertility, and even cancer. Microplastics contaminate our drinking water and farm soil.

Luckily, plastic manufacturers are developing biodegradable plastic. Living microorganisms can break down biodegradable plastic, and turn it into organic matter. This new type of plastic doesn’t harm wildlife, humans, or the planet.

Preventing Plastic Waste

91% of plastic is not recycled. When you throw away plastic, it ends up in landfills, rivers, and the ocean.

The plastic industry recognizes the importance of preventing plastic waste. During the production process, manufacturers reuse raw materials instead of throwing them out. Manufacturers also trace all the plastic materials in a plant so that none are wasted.

By reusing and recycling plastic, the plastic industry is becoming more sustainable.

Upgrading Machinery

Upgrading is one key to sustainability. Old machinery does not run as well as new technology. In some cases, production lines are full of machinery that hasn’t been replaced in decades.

Plastic manufacturing plants are working to replace and update old machines. For example, automating machinery to switch off instead of idle can save tons of energy and money.

Likewise, replacing old hydraulic machines with electric machinery increases energy efficiency.

Predictive Maintenance

Another way the plastic manufacturing industry is becoming more sustainable.

Predictive maintenance involves keeping machinery running at its best for the most efficiency.

The Future of Plastic Manufacturing

Traditional plastic manufacturing uses excessive energy and creates waste. Plastic trash pollutes a lot of the earth. Now more than ever, it is time to move towards sustainability.

The plastic manufacturing industry is doing this, start by creating new biodegradable plastics from sustainable materials and preventing waste. Next, the industry is upgrading and maintaining machinery.

For more information on the future of plastic manufacturing, contact us today!

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