Plastic Blow Molding and the Environment

With the ever-increasing demand for plastic bottles, plastic mold and the environment has become an increasingly important issue.

As landfills begin disappearing, more and more pressure will be put on plastic blow molders to come up with solutions.

The numbers are staggering to the mind:

In 2006, Americans recycled an average of 23%. That means that 38 billion water bottles end up in landfills.
Bottled water costs between $1 and $4 per gallon. 90% of the cost is in the packaging!
In order to manufacture a one years supply of bottled water in the US, it takes 1.5 million barrels of oil a year! You could drive 100,00 cars with that much oil.
Eight out of ten plastic water bottles end up in the dump.

All of these bottles were made by plastic blow molding, an industry that is facing this problem from several strategic positions.

What can be done by blow molders?

One approach is to use biodegradable plastics in the molding process. This is not quite as easy at it might appear, for several reasons. Biodegradable plastics are not so easy to work with. This is Rapid prototype changing, however, with the introduction of newer grades of starch based polymers to the marketplace.

The other approach is to use recycled materials. This is a very simple and practical method, but is is not very effective at the present. This is because Americans have a very poor record at recycling plastic bottles.

If 8 out of 10 bottles end up in the dump, that means only 20% are recycled! Some states are legislating a bottle deposit, similar to soda bottles. This is very effective and should become a federal mandate. The return rate on bottle deposits is very high and this is an easy way to manage the problem, at least in a stop-gap measure.

What can the public do?

1.Make a nationwide bottle deposit law that would create an incentive to recycle. Taxpayers have to pay for the clean up, now the costs should be shifted to the consumers.
2.Eliminate the patchwork bottle laws that vary from state to state and make it nationwide.
3.Find a way to get the manufacturers to stop opposing legislation in Congress. There has been widespread bipartisan support, but the beverage lobby groups have tremendous political influence. So, what’s new? Still, with enough pressure things could change.

Posted at 10:02PM Mar 11, 2010 by Emma in Rapid prototype  |  Source

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