Here at Resin8 we are conscious of the environment in everything that we do. As retailers of a plastic product we are even more aware of the need to reduce our impact on the environment. That’s why we thought it might be helpful to explain a little more about why we use the packaging that we do, and what we are doing to improve further.
Loose fill packaging
The term “loose fill” refers to a packaging material that fills a void left once an item has been packed. We use a selection of loose fill packing material.
- We shred our paper
- We re-use packing materials
- We only buy 100% biodegradeable packing peanuts, from the UK
All left over paper, that doesn’t have confidential information on, is shredded and used as parcel packing. We are in discussions with a number of local businesses to give us their paper for shredding which we will collect ourselves. How to recycle it? Use it again, add it to your compost mixed in with vegetable peelings, use it as pet bedding or even in your cat litter tray. Many councils in the UK don’t like to recycle shredded paper as the small nature of it means that it can cause problems with their machinery, so instead they ask you to bag it and take it to your local Household Recycling Centre.
When we receive items from manufacturers we ALWAYS re-use the loose fill. So your parcel may include “plastic” packing peanuts or bubble wrap but rest assured, these have been re-used and are not bought in by us. How to recycle it? Please re-use where you can.
We use Eco Flo fully biodegradeable packing peanuts and have done for a number of years. Eco Flo peanuts are made, in Cardiff, from GM-free starch and are 100% biodegradable. Unlike other loose fills on the market, Eco Flo is compostable (EN13432) and independently proven to offer better all round protection than polystyrene loose fill. What’s even better is that starch is an annually renewable resource, not a depleting resource like petro-chemical based polystyrene. How to recycle it? It is suitable for your compost bin! It will dissolve in water which eliminates the problem of littering. Or make flowers out of it, like Sarah did, one of our customers.
We re-use cardboard boxes where we can, which is why the box your order arrives in might not always look tip-top. However, the volume of orders we now process means that we have to buy in new cardboard boxes to send your products out in.
We have spent a long time sourcing our cardboard box manufacturer, Belmont Packaging. This company are based in Wigan and are female-led (just like us). Belmont are an environmentally-aware FSC® certified manufacturer who have taken steps to reduce their impact on the environment by installing solar panels to generate their own electricity, installing a state of the art energy efficient compressor, having motion sensor lighting to save energy and best of all, collating and baling their own waste which they then sell back to the corrugated board supplier so it can be turned into more sheeting for more boxes.
We are looking into paper tape instead of plastic tape and will report back once we have found something suitable!
Grip seal polythene bags
The big one! Hands up – we use a lot of HDPE grip seal plastic bags.
The big issue for us is that there is no environmentally friendly alternative. The “seal” part of the bag is non-recyclable so even if the bag were made of recyclable plastic, the seal could not be recycled, thereby meaning the entire bag would still go into landfill.
The grip seal is important for liquid product transportation. Epoxy resin and hardener are chemicals – they must not be allowed to spill, leak or come into contact with human skin, animals, etc. Royal Mail’s “Prohibited and Restricted Items” guidance states that “Environmentally hazardous substances packaging guidelines: Pack in a leak proof or sift proof inner and protect by cushioning material in rigid outer packaging.” This means that we cannot use a biodegradable plastic bag that doesn’t have a “seal”. Biodegradable grip seal bags do not yet exist.
If one item were to leak, it would spill over all of the other products in the parcel, hence meaning we need to re-send product to you which not only costs us money but it means more miles in the post van, hence more emissions. Mica is notorious for leaking – such a fine powder is difficult to keep in one place!
What are we going to do to reduce plastic bags used for liquid transportation? We will stop double-bagging. We are also investigating biodegradable plastic bags (see more below) but at this stage have not found one that will contain a spilt liquid without falling apart.
What are we going to do to reduce plastic bags used for non-liquid transportation? We are now using paper bags where possible. Paper is NOT better for the environment (see our research below) but it’s all about perceptions and currently, the general public’s perception is that paper bags are better for the environment than plastic.
How to recycle grip seal bags? These bags are designed to be used multiple times. When containers get reused, less waste ends up in landfills and less manufacturing energy is expended. That’s good news all around. Many supermarkets will now accept grip seal bags as part of their carrier bag recycling.
Plastic bottles & tubs
Our resin bottles are made from HDPE (high density polyethylene), which, coincidentally, is also resin! HDPE is used for milk bottles, shampoo bottles, detergent bottles… the list goes on. Because of its popularity it is widely recycled, with 92% of councils collecting used HDPE bottles for recycling. Epoxy resin and hardener must be filled in HDPE as it is the only plastic that will not react with the chemicals contained in resin.
How to recycle your used Resin8 bottles? Containers should be emptied as much as possible (i.e. the product used) and taken to a local recycling centre. They will usually have a special waste collection point that deals with hazardous liquids like paints, etc.
You’re not going to like reading this… Paper bags are NOT better for the environment than polythene bags.
- Paper uses more energy in its production than polythene
- Paper costs more to produce
- Paper manufacture uses 20 times as much water as polythene manufacture
- Paper takes up to 20 times more space during transportation, resulting in excess CO2 emissions
- Paper is more expensive to recycle
- Paper places increasing pressure on landfill and land space due to their greater mass
- Paper releases methane as it degrades – 23 times more damaging in accelerating climate change as the equivalent amount of CO2
Paper bags do have some positives however – they can be composted at home and are highly recyclable.
So, paper bags are not the answer.
By re-using and then recycling our polythene (HDPE) packaging – rather than just disposing of it after a single use – we can all help to reduce waste and save on raw materials, thereby cutting greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to a greener, cleaner planet.
For those who wish to see the stats and want our statement backed up, please visit these links:
- Environment Agency Report SC030148: Life cycle assessment of supermarket carrier bags: a review of the bags available in 2006
- NI Assembly Research and Library Briefing Note 2011: Comparison of Environmental Impact of Plastic, Paper and Cloth Bags
- The Independent 2011: Plastic fantastic! Carrier bags ‘not eco-villains after all’
Is there such a thing as a biodegradeable, leakproof plastic bag?
Currently no. However we are encouraged by recent tests that we’ve carried out on Natureflex bags. These bags are 100% biodegradeable and can be heat-sealed (to contain liquid hopefully). We have some of these bags on test in our studio to see how resin and pigments react to the plastic and we will report back soon!