5 Plastic Alternatives When Running into Resin Shortages

plastic grains

plastic grains

The COVID-19 pandemic has massively disrupted the global supply chain. As a result, more and more organizations are looking for reliable and efficient alternatives to plastics to overcome resin shortages.

As many companies are suffering from material shortages, it causes price fluctuations and adversely affects the production of plastic-based components.

The good news is that there has been a lot of innovation in material development processes, and more manufacturers are exploring alternatives to resins.

Whenever an industry faces challenges like material shortages, they have the opportunity to explore more options and optimize processes with the help of modern tools and technology.

Nowadays, many alternatives are available; they act as a reliable replacement for common plastics like polycarbonate.

Different types of plastic wraps and stretch wraps are now available that allow consumers and large-scale organizations to overcome shortages and continue with their business processes.

Following are the top 5 plastic alternatives to resin shortages:

 

1. Polysulfone (PSU)

This resin is a crystalline, translucent, pale-amber high-performance thermoplastic with reliable melting stability.

As a result, it is capable of being processed with the help of standard thermoplastic processing methods. PSU is a highly popular component often used in various types of plastic wrap.

PSU also has good chemical and hydrolytic stability, as well as exceptional mechanical, electrical, and thermophysical characteristics.

The resin’s properties combine to make it ideal for components such as plumbing components, sterilizable plastic parts for medical equipment, and membranes for water treatment, gas separation, and other applications.

 

2. Polyphthalmide (PPA)

Semi-aromatic polyamides, such as PPA, are frequently a less costly alternative to fully aromatic aramids. PPA has a mixture of aromatic and aliphatic groups.

It significantly decreases moisture absorption that leads to less dimensional changes and more stable characteristics.

The material is ideal for goods that must be exposed to harsher chemicals and temperatures over extended periods of time.

Motor components, coolant pumps, bearing pads, resonators, and other items are examples of typical uses.

 

3. Polyphenylene sulfide (PPS)

PPS has a high melting point and low solubility, that that’s why it requires specific processing to make components out of it.

However, its aromatic ring structure gives it excellent heat and chemical resistance, good dimensional stability, and high tensile and structural strength.

PPS is a commonly utilized polyphenylene because of its flame-retardant characteristics and excellent electrical properties.

Electrical and electronic parts, as well as mechanical parts in vehicles and precision engineering, are common applications of PPS.

 

4. Polyphenylene oxide (PPO)

PPO has good tensile and impact strength and is resistant to a variety of chemicals, including steam and water.

However, it is susceptible to stress cracking, and that’s why it has limited applications. PPO has a problem with melt processing because it requires a high glass-transition temperature.

As a result, it’s frequently mixed with high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) for use in pump components, fan impellors, catalyst supports, and other applications in the automotive and electronics industries.

Moreover, it is also used in high-quality plastic wraps by large-scale organizations.

 

5. Syndiotactic polystyrene (SPS)

The plastic alternative, known as Xarec, is the first syndiotactic polystyrene (SPS) resin. The unique structure provides for a wide range of desirable features.

SPS is heat resistant, hydrolysis resistant, and chemically resistant to corrosion by different acids and alkalis, including vehicle oil and antifreeze. It also has a low specific gravity, which reduces part weight and cost.

SPS is a suitable material for electrical components in a variety of hybrid electric cars, as well as an important component in common household products. It’s also seen to be a good choice for the environment.

The Eco-friendliness of SPS is a major reason why it is becoming highly popular among customers as well as stretch wrap manufacturers.

 

The Bottom Line

Plant-based plastics, or bioplastics, are becoming very popular because they are biodegradable and do not reduce the quality of stretch wraps.

Now is the best time for companies and plastic wrap manufacturers to explore alternatives like the ones discussed above and implement the best solutions to overcome shortages.

There is no doubt that current shortages are causing great issues in the global supply. Plastic wraps are needed in every industry.

With things going back to some semblance of normalcy, these shortages will be overcome, and industries will continue operating with better and more efficient packaging options.

PCR Resin: Giving Life To Post Consumer Waste (PCW) Again

PCR Resin TGSH Thong Guan
PCR Resin TGSH Thong Guan

Are you aware of the buzz surrounding PCR resin in the packaging supply chain? 

With all the talks about joining in the sustainability movement, one of the ways to close the loop is to use post-consumer recycled materials instead of virgin feedstock in packaging. 

The movement and demand of PCR resin have grown enormously over time. 

The global “Post Consumer Resin (PCR) Market” research report showed that the “Global Post Consumer Resin (PCR) market was valued at USD 30,450 million in 2020.

It is estimated that it will reach USD 42,470 million by the end of 2027, growing at a CAGR of 5.7% during 2022-2027”. 

More users and consumers of packaged goods businesses are placing more weight on sustainability, using less energy, and lessening waste. 

Brand owners are also aware that sustainability goals are more important now than ever, as consumers seek out brands focused on the environment.  

In this article, let us learn more about PCR resin and how it plays a role as a #loopcloser to bring you a step closer to your sustainability goals. 


What Is PCR Resin & Why It Matters

PCR plastics refer to any plastic material that is made from post-consumer resins. 

Post-consumer recycled (PCR) resin is the recycled product of external waste created by consumers. 

The International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) “Plastics Vocabulary” list, the definition of post-consumer or post-use material as 

“material generated by the end-users of products, that has fulfilled its intended purpose or can no longer be used (including material returned from within the distribution chain).” 

These wastes are called post-consumer waste (PCW), which are not usable anymore because their functionalities have already been destroyed.

They are gathered and sent through a process to produce plastic resin pellets.

These pellets are then turned back into valuable products. 

They are environmentally friendly and a more sustainable option that many manufacturers are beginning to use to support their recycling programs.

It helps decrease the amount of waste sent to landfills and microplastics drifting away into our seas. 

Why does this matter? 

It is because we want to strive towards a sustainable environment of minimal waste where plastics may live useful lives again.

We are moving towards a culture of recyclability and closing the circular loop. 

You should join in the movement too. 


What Are The Advantages Of Using Renewable Recycled Material:

Here are some advantages when more recycled material like PCR resin is used in the supply chain and our environment. 

  • Waste reduction – Plastics do not biodegrade and take up to 500 years to decompose in a landfill. Recycling lessens the usage of valuable landfill space and greatly reduces ocean-bound plastic.
  • Energy conservation – When we reuse existing materials, we use significantly less energy compared with the processing of raw, virgin materials.
  • Conservation of precious resources – Using recycled materials protects valuable natural resources like oil, which is limited and non-renewable.
  • Reduce carbon footprint – Manufacturing produces greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide which is harmful to the environment. In addition to its effects on climate change, its toxic smog and air pollution affect our health. Since less energy and raw fossil fuels are required during its compounding process, greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprints are also reduced. 


Collecting Unwanted Packaging Waste To Live Useful Lives Again

To reprocess Post Consumer Waste (PCW), Thong Guan collects cleaned and packed waste to be recycled. 

There are two ways that waste is collected.

  1. Plastic packaging waste from “used packaging” that is used to package raw materials received (i.e. resins)
  2. Plastic packaging waste from other suppliers in the supply chain 

Some of these wastes consist of PE sheets, bags, and stretch films. 

We collect these usable consumer waste from suppliers, which usually comes in form of big palletized packs or resin-loaded containers

By recycling these discarded wastes back into the packaging ecosystem, we convert them into valuable raw materials – completing the circle to close the plastic loop.


How Does The Process Work and The Valuable Role Of PCR Resins?

In order to convert PCW into PCR plastic resins, Thong Guan follows a series of steps that we carefully follow to ensure quality output.

And that’s vital for quality films and bags production. 

Here are the steps below

  1. Collection and sorting: The process starts with the collection of packaging materials (PE Sheets/Bags/Stretch Films/Stretch Hood) of the raw materials (resins) that comes in from Thong Guan’s plants that will be sorted, compiled and collected
  2. Compression Process – PCW wastes are then compressed into a bale and made ready for transfer
  3. Waste Processing – These PCW wastes will be transferred over to TGSH Plastic Industries for processing 
  4. Flaking – TGSH will start processing these wastes through a flaking process. These PCW waste will be flaked into a silo 
  5. PCR Resins Production – After the PCW waste is flaked, it is converted into PCR resins (Post Consumer Recycled Resins) 
  6. Extrusion Process – PCR Resins are then included in the extrusion process to create newly recycled plastics
  7. PCR Plastics – Extruded plastics are ready and made into PCR based products like garbage bags, ready to live useful lives again. 


Why it’s time to start using PCR Resin

As the world moves towards sustainability, introducing recycled materials in your products is inevitable. 

The fight for our environment is not something we can shoulder alone.

Whether it is compliance pressure from the government, consumer preference to go green or your initiative to fight for our environment, Thong Guan strives to innovate to help you minimize your packaging footprint and make good packaging wastes. 

With the growing demands for recycled materials, it is essential to establish a closed collaboration with users in the packaging supply chain.

Together we can achieve sustainability goals as we lean towards PCR resin and loop closing initiatives. 

Would you like to learn more about using recycled materials?

Let us talk about PCR resins and other #loopclosers at info@thongguan.com

Closing the Loop with NanoGreen: 30% Recycled Machine Film

recycled machine film NanoGreen
recycled machine film NanoGreen

We should all invest in recycled machine film from now onwards.

Plastics are indeed valuable commodities in the packaging ecosystem, but what happens to them post-usage? 

National Geographic found that 91% of plastics are not recycled. In other words, only 9% of materials are recycled. A study in 2018 shows that mass production has created 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics—most of which end up in the trash. 

This is alarming.

As a plastics manufacturer, we strive to close the plastic waste loop. Here are some initiatives that we are doing. 

  • Progressively develop innovative ideas to close the loop. We have recently launched #livegreen to strengthen our commitment towards sustainability through education, innovation, recycling, alternative sourcing and more. 
  • Help our clients to reduce damaged goods and unsaleables, all of which contributes to more wastes, with wrapping optimisation through state-of-the-art simulation test lab, Newton R&D Centre (link to Newton https://newton-centre.my/)
  • Help our customers that will soon face the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) law. Plastic packaging imported to the UK or manufactured in the UK that contains less than 30% recycled plastic will be subject to this new tax.

That is why we have chosen to put recycled materials back into the system so that plastics can live a longer lifespan of their usefulness. 

By recycling, we reduce waste, reduce our carbon footprint, and close the material loop. 

 

Are Recycled Machine Films Effective? 

The issue is not just whether recycled machine films are effective but also when you will need to adopt the closing-the-loop business decisions.

The walls are closing in for those who are still doubtful of going through the recycled content route. 

  • The British government has set the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) law with good reasons to promote sustainability through recycling, and others will most likely follow. 
  • The National Plastics Plan of Australia also accelerated 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging by 2025.
  • Prices of virgin materials have seen to fluctuate due to recent global climate and demand changes. (https://www.thongguan.com/nano-10-micron-what-can-you-do-to-outsmart-the-plastic-resins-price-surge/)
  • It is unsustainable to use single-use plastics because they are made from nonrenewable resources and produce pollution. 

Whatever the reasons, we understand your hesitancy towards recycled films.

Such as, 

  • Are recycled films are as good as virgin films? 
  • Shouldn’t recycled films be cheaper?
  • Is the quality lower?
  • Can recycled machine films still get the job done at the end of the day?

Check out our #RecycledPlastic article series, and you may find more information about it. 

Meanwhile, here is some answer to your questions. 

When we use suitable plastic wastes, clean them thoroughly and processed them in a conducive environment, recycled plastic machine films are surprisingly comparable to conventional stretch films.

Yes, it may take extra work to collect plastic waste for recycling to repurpose it, but it is even more painful if you don’t recycle.  

But more than that, moving towards recycled films is sustainable for the packaging ecosystem. 

Let us show you what the benefits are and why you should embrace recycled materials for films, how it fits into your wrapping process (machine) and how you can test it to have the assurance of safe deliveries. 

 

Let’s Talk About Recycled Machine Film

If you are not new to recycled films, you know that machine film with 30% recycled materials is uncommon for semi-auto wrapping applications. 

Many are still unaware of such green initiatives but will eventually hear more sustainability policies around the world like the UK’s PPT implementation. 

As mentioned, It is important to have films with at least 30% recycled materials because it meets sustainable policies.

Businesses that make and import plastic packaging and consumers who buy goods packaged in plastic in the UK will be affected by plastic packaging that doesn’t contain 30% recycled plastic.

That is why it matters to source films with recycled materials that suit your needs before April 2022

Besides avoiding hefty taxes, you are championing “loop closing”, too.

You support and encourage the sustainability movement within the industrial chain and economy loop when you purchase recycled plastic films.

More plastic producers like us, stakeholders and end-users would be more supportive and involved in utilising recycled content in packaging arrangements. 

Recycled content has so much potential to be developed in the packaging industry. Perhaps this little push will help end-users discover alternative green products that can also do the job and protect our precious resources at the same time. 

One of such is our #loopcloser below.

 

Introducing NanoGreen, TG’s First High-Quality Recycled Machine Film 

Made with 30% recycled materials, NanoGreen stretch film is designed to meet your requirements. 

Apart from giving life to waste, our specially formulated film meets your requirements through laborious processes and rigorous testing to ensure they secure your goods, as well as virgin films.   

Even with recycled materials, compromising on pallet load stability is not an option. 

Here are some other points that you can look forward to:

  • Sustainability – Significantly reduces CO2 emissions with 30% recycled content 
  • High Load Containment Force – Higher holding force and allows you to achieve optimum wrap
  • Preserving the safety of your goods – From packing to fulfilment of the order. If you keep your goods safe, you reduce waste from damaged and unsaleable merchandise.
  • Cost-Efficient – Costs for wrapping are relatively comparable to virgin plastic material
  • Ideal without compromise – build sustainability without sacrificing properties of stretch film.
  • No Easy Snapping – Highly consistent film thickness that prevents easy snapping
  • Green – Traceability through green reporting on sustainable goals.

 

Here is a video of NanoGreen in action, a test at Newton R&D Centre on load containment performance.

We’re excited to announce that, when you get NanoGreen from us, in the near future, you will be joining efforts with a recognised Global Recycling Standards (GRS)—ISCC+ accreditation.

Yes, you heard right. We’re taking our closing-the-loop and sustainability initiatives a step further by making our efforts quantifiable.

That’s a plus point: you can show your customers that you are serious about sustainability and participating in a global movement to close the loop. Some of the other brands that have also applied for this accreditation are, e.g. Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Soy Network Switzerland.

How does this film fit into your wrapping process?

NanoGreen performs comparably just like other machine stretch films in the market. 

It covers the aspects of:

  • Excellent stretch force
  • High Anti-tear resistance
  • Outstanding puncture resistance 

The film is suitable for semi-auto machines with an operating range of 200% stretch for 15 um films, which is premium and ideal for most users in the supply chain. 

 

Testing Your Recycled Machine Film Before Delivery

So NanoGreen sounds interesting, but can this recycled plastic film perform on the job? 

Fret not; this is where Newton Research & Development Centre can help ensure this and clear this concern once and for all. 

Newton can test out your film and ensure load stability and optimise your wraps. Peace of mind awaits, no more worries. 

Newton R&D Centre’s popular acceleration and deceleration tests showed us that NanoGreen works on your semi-auto wrappers.

 

Conclusion: We Have Moved Ahead, How About You?

Yes, using recycled machine film sure saves on tax, but more importantly, it promotes sustainability. 

It’s not just about pointing fingers at who should start first, as sustainability is everyone’s responsibility. 

Thong Guan is ready to help you with that. With our premium recycled machine film, we can help tie everything together and support you in reaching your sustainable goals faster.

It’s your move now; let’s close the loop together. 

Contact us at info@thongguan.com and let us show you how.