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The importance of plastic for society

28 de April de 2022

Very present in our lives, plastic emerged in the first half of the 20th century and started gaining strength in the 1930’s, with polyethylene. The Second World War was a revolution for plastic and, after the war, companies started to use it in the manufacturing of consumer goods. Its dissemination in society brought several social, economic, and environmental advantages.

 

Benefits of plastic for society

Resistant, inert, and lightweight, plastic offers many benefits to companies, consumers, and other links in society. This is all because it is a low-cost, versatile, and easy-to-use alternative, ideal for replacing various materials that have a deep impact on the environment.

Resistant, inert, and lightweight, plastic offers many benefits to companies, consumers, and other links in society. This is all because it is a low-cost, versatile, and easy-to-use alternative, ideal for replacing various materials that have a deep impact on the environment.

Yes, among the options available today, plastic is the least aggressive to the environment! After all, it uses few natural resources, besides being produced, in great part, from petrochemical industry by-products, reducing the waste of both raw materials and the energy used for its extraction.

Another important factor of the plastic production chain is the low energy consumption of its processing when compared to other materials, which depend on very high temperatures, above 1000 °C in the case of glass, for example, aside from demanding low water consumption.

All these factors have contributed to the popularization of consumer goods, since one of the results of the use of plastic in the production chain is the reduction of the final price, making the products more affordable and contributing to social development.

In medicine, plastic has led a revolution because it is a resistant, sterilizable, light, and cheap material, being present in safety equipment for professionals, in masks, gloves, syringes, blood bags, catheters, capsules, pills, and much more.

In the automotive industry, it has allowed a significant reduction in vehicle weight, reducing fuel consumption and, consequently, the environmental impact of automobiles.

The examples do not stop here. To mention one more, plastic is widely present in civil construction, being fundamental in hydraulic pipes due to its ease of installation, high durability, and effectiveness against leaks.

 

And what about packaging?

With plastic packaging, it is no different. They also do their part to contribute to several social, economic and environmental advances: they provide the same quality of product conservation in relation to other materials, extending their expiration date and useful life, of food, for example, and reducing food waste.

It is worth remembering that food waste is one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the UN, 8% to 10% of global emissions of these gases come from food that is not consumed.

Packaging also plays a crucial role in the cheapening of industrial processes, such as logistics. This is because, as previously mentioned, they are light and resistant, reducing the weight of the cargo and making transportation more efficient and safer.

 

100% recyclable and sustainable options 

That’s right! Plastic is, as a rule, 100% recyclable and there are already several solutions in plastic packaging made of recycled material, such as PET PCR (post-consumer recycled). Some of the challenges, however, are to make society aware of the importance of the correct disposal of post-consumer plastic, so that it has the appropriate destination, and to increase recycling capacity.

With this in mind, Valgroup works to design solutions that strengthen the circular economy and, at the same time, invests to expand its recycling operation, which is already the largest in Latin America and one of the largest in the world. But for us, this is not enough:

Our goal is to recycle 100% of our production by 2040, mechanically or chemically.

Learn about other Valgroup sustainable goals and commitments at www.valgroupco.com/en/sustentabilidade/