As companies become increasingly more environmentally friendly, the more often people see the words “Made with Recycled Material” on products. But what does that mean? In truth, it can mean a variety of different things. It can mean the product itself contains some amount of recycled material, the packaging is made wholly or partially of recycled material, or that recycled material was used in the process of making the product somehow. It is a very vague phrase that becomes even more confusing when the two different types of recycled material that it can refer to are introduced.
Recycled material that is used in products can either be post-industrial recycled (PIR) material or post-consumer recycled (PCR) material. In basic terms, post-industrial recycled material is product that was created, but never made it to a consumer. It is scrap from the production process most often made with virgin materials. An example of PIR material would be the bags pulled out of production to test quality. Post-consumer recycled material is something that a consumer actually bought and used, which can then be repurchased and repurposed, giving it another life. Can sacks that have been used to collect aluminum cans are a perfect example of PCR material. PCR material oftentimes needs to be sorted and washed to eliminate contaminants before it can be used in new products. The biggest environmental difference between the two is that by using PCR material in making products, a lot more waste is being diverted from landfills.
When it comes to recycling and repurposing plastic, Petoskey Plastics does it better. Petoskey Plastics started recycling almost 40 years ago and hasn’t stopped thinking green since. Petoskey Plastics’ recycling facility in Hartford City, Indiana recycles over 30 MILLION pounds of plastic every year. That is 30 million pounds not being thrown into landfills. This recycled plastic is then put back into new products, reducing the facility’s carbon footprint while simultaneously benefiting the environment. While many of Petoskey Plastics’ plastic film products contain at least some percentage of PCR material (some up to 70%) Petoskey Plastics also produces three resins that are made from 100% PCR material. But it doesn’t stop there. Petoskey Plastics is continuously trying to find new ways to reduce what gets sent to landfills. Everything from production scrap to cardboard packaging gets recycled rather than thrown in the trash. Even drool, which is what the runoff from production is called, gets sold to other companies who use it. As a rule of thumb, Petoskey Plastics as a company tries to avoid throwing away anything that can be used again, whether by Petoskey Plastics or by another company so very little actually gets sent to the landfill.
While Petoskey Plastics’ carbon footprint is relatively small for a company in the manufacturing industry, associates are still constantly trying to push the limits of what can be saved and reused. Continuously improving processes, equipment design, and the materials put into the products allows Petoskey Plastics to keep moving forward, creating a product that is both high quality and better for the environment.
If you’d like to know more about Petoskey Plastics’ recycling process, you can watch our animated video detailing our closed loop process on our website’s sustainability page.
Petoskey Plastics is an environmentally focused recycler and plastic film, bag and resin manufacturer providing superior products and solutions. Headquartered in Petoskey, Michigan, the company provides products and engineered solutions for a variety of industries including automotive, industrial, institutional, retail, construction and home improvement. Petoskey Plastics has facilities in Michigan, Indiana and Tennessee. Learn more at petoskeyplastics.com.