During the last decades, the industrial world has developed significantly as it has ushered in greater performance, technological breakthroughs, and substantial competition between different companies. The plastics industry is a good example. Unfortunately, the incessant growth of this sector has directly fuelled higher energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the environment. The capitalist reality in which we live makes it almost impossible to slow down such an industry. The economic impact of reducing plastic production is too high for business managers to accept drastic changes to their processes.
The plastics industry processes plastic for many purposes, but among the practices that leave the most waste in the environment, the production of plastic water bottles tops the list. Every second, more than 16,000 plastic bottles are sold around the world. Of these, less than 50% are collected for recycling and only 7% of those that are recycled are used to make new bottles. The vast majority of plastic bottles end up in landfills, where the plastic takes hundreds of years to break down.
Why not maximize the lifespan of this product by refraining from throwing it away and instead keeping it in our economy through recycling? For many industries, incorporating recycled plastic into their production chain is an innovative solution as plastic has many sought-after characteristics, from lightness and durability to waterproofing and more.
In the midst of this wave of ideas, some innovative companies have jumped on the opportunity to integrate recycled plastic into their production chain. By doing so, these companies are shifting from a linear economy to a circular economy. This new economic model is characterized by reducing resource consumption, reusing products and recycling waste. Unlike the linear economy, the consumption cycle under this model is no longer “buy, consume, throw away” but rather “reduce, reuse, recycle.”
Among the companies that have chosen to adopt the circular model are Ideal Cargo and Armorteck. Their new GreenEdge technology turns recycled plastic bottles into trailer panels. To do this, the bottles are first crushed and reduced to flakes. These flakes are then transformed into pellets, and then into foam. In turn, this PET (polyethylene terephthalate) foam is placed between two fiberglass membranes to form the trailer panels. In addition to being environmentally friendly, these panels are ultra-light, sturdy and energy efficient.
By being the only companies in North America to offer trailers made of panels made from 100% recycled materials, Armorteck and Ideal Cargo are contributing to a more sustainable economy. For each unit produced, 6,500 plastic bottles are recycled. The two companies expect to have recycled nearly 25 million bottles by 2023. Armorteck and Ideal Cargo are proud to be able to make an environmental difference, one trailer at a time.