Product design, development & innovation

We maximise the environmental benefits of plastic in the development of products that provide a sustainable solution while still being fit for purpose. Our product design, development and innovation initiatives in this field include:

Lightweighting
Use of recycled material
Substituting heavier materials
Product protection
Lightweighting

“While over 50% of all European goods are packaged in plastics, these plastics account only for 17% of all packaging weight.”*

The light weight of plastics already makes a significant contribution to reducing a product’s carbon footprint and the impact of transportation, as well as helping to minimise raw material usage.

At RPC, we continue to invest in raw material, tooling, process changes and machinery; initiatives which have seen the introduction of even lighter packs and products that offer the same or improved technical performance – delivering enhanced sustainability benefits while ensuring our products are still fit-for-purpose.

*Source: Plastics Europe

Substituting heavier materials

Plastics’ robustness and reliability at light weight make it the ideal alternative to many traditional materials, ensuring safety and practicality are not compromised in the achievement of a reduced carbon footprint and improved sustainability profile. And the use of bio-based materials for certain applications can deliver even further sustainable benefits, while the incorporation of barriers maintains product protection and minimises waste.

Production of plastic products uses far less energy compared to traditional materials – and plastic components weigh 50% less than similar components made from other materials, which can lead to a 25-35% improvement in fuel economy.

The other way round creates a very different story. Substitution of plastics by heavier alternatives would lead to a 26% increase in energy consumption and a 56% increase in global warming*.

*Source: BPF & Plastics Europe

Use of recycled material

RPC continues to work on the development of containers incorporating recycled material, diverting used plastic from the waste stream and landfill.

We manufacture a variety of products containing recycled (r)PP, PET and HDPE, with materials from both post-consumer and post-industrial sources. And we continue to research and develop new methods which will increase the current recycled content in existing products and develop new applications that can use recycled plastics.

In addition, we are working with various partners in the establishment of closed loop initiatives that provide a commercially-viable means of collecting used plastics.

Product protection

Food waste is a global problem, with around 1.3 billion tons of food wasted every year all over the world*. And on average, ten times more energy goes into the production of food and goods than into their packaging.**

Plastic packaging is not the problem, it is part of the solution, Packs are designed to reduce food waste – with re-sealable containers and individual or smaller size packs that allow effective portion control, and barrier bottles, jars and trays that prolong shelf life. The introduction of extended ambient shelf life products also reduces the energy demands on refrigeration in retail outlets and the home.

And in many non-food markets, plastics’ robustness and longevity are also ideal for keeping a wide variety of products safer for longer and avoiding unnecessary waste, including paint, DIY, personal care and cosmetics products, and it is also the material of choice for the creation of reliable long-lasting transport and storage solutions.

*Source: Plastics Europe **Source: BPF.

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