Why Packaging MattersTM
The Necessity of Packaging in Everyday Life Today
Packaging Matters™ in everyday life! It extends the shelf life of your favorite drinks and foods while informing you of ingredients and expiration dates. It safely and conveniently packages cleaning, personal care and industrial products. Packaging gives instant brand recognition and draws consumers to make product purchases. It allows for efficient transport of products across the world.
Since ancient times, primitive packaging from nature was used to share, exchange and transport goods. Much has changed in packaging over time and now Packaging Matters™ in our day-to-day lives.
When Did Packaging Begin?
The packaging we know and see today on store shelves didn’t develop overnight. Instead, it has been a progression over time. The most common packaging materials to emerge over time have been glass, metal, paper and plastic.
While primitive packaging dates back to ancient times, packaging transformed significantly over the last 200 years beginning with the Industrial Revolution and spanning to the sustainable packaging of today.
The Progression of Packaging Over Time
Packaging Matters!™ It has been an essential part of life since ancient days to protect, store and transport items. The earliest materials used for primitive packaging were simple things from nature such as leaves, animal skins, nuts and wood. For at least 5,000 years materials such as glass, wood and clay have served as packaging.
The Industrial Revolution Creates a Shift in Packaging
Packaging evolved gradually over time but was greatly redefined during the Industrial Revolution as millions of people migrated from small town living to industrial lifestyles in urban settings. The introduction of machinery resulted in more efficient and durable packaging methods while increasing city populations led to higher volume production of smaller, individual packaging. During this time, the availability of consumer goods products increased as trade thrived.
The Great Depression Era Introduces the Supermarket
The introduction of the supermarket in the 1930s during The Great Depression changed the shopping experience for the American consumer. Consumers experienced the shift from shopping at small, independently owned shops to large supermarkets. Here, packaging sold the product to the consumer with branding and advertising rather than reliance on a salesman.
Mid to Late Twentieth Century
Consumers enjoyed newfound convenience of single use packaging such as aluminum, foil and plastics after World War II. Plastics steadily overtook paper products as the leading packaging material. As competition boomed in the later half of the century with the rise of global businesses, packaging became the way to stand out and gain customer loyalty. The packaging industry had always operated in support of the environment decade after decade, evolving with innovation and more sustainable packaging. Working together for a more sustainable world, consumers connected with packaging sustainability in the 1980s and 1990s, leading to today’s sustainability-focused packaging.
The Sustainable Packaging of Today
Today, packaging is useful in our everyday lives. Thanks to advanced technology in the plastic packaging industry, there are now many innovations supporting practical, sustainable packaging. For many years PET and HDPE plastic packaging has not only been lightweight, versatile and functional, but also recyclable for a circular packaging economy. Packaging is continually influenced by social media and technology, bringing people together to recycle better. Plastipak’s Recycling Counts™ is a website that shares initiatives to continually educate consumers about recycling.
A Brief History of Packaging Timeline
Leaves, animal skins, nut shells and wood are used as primitive packaging
1200 B.C. TO 1200 A.D.
Introduction of glass containers in 1200 B.C. and tin packaging in 1200 A.D.
1760 — 1850
The Industrial Revolution: New machinery yields high volumes of individual packaging
First man-made plastic derived from cellulose in 1862
1929 — 1939
The Great Depression: Introduction of supermarkets pushes branding and advertising
Polyethylene becomes a preferred packaging material
Plastic package pioneering begins with the foundation of Plastipak
Introduction of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles
1980 — 2000
Consumers connect with packaging sustainability
Development of sustainable packaging materials and recycling solutions minimize packaging waste
The World of Plastipak
Founded in 1967, Plastipak started out providing innovative, plastic packaging to deliver water for the Young family’s water delivery company in Michigan. After more than 50 years of rapid growth, market-changing innovation, awarded achievements and ongoing sustainability initiatives, Plastipak is now a global leader in the rigid plastic packaging and recycling industries with more than 40 production sites located in North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Utilizing innovative technology and incorporating sustainability in all operations, Plastipak maximizes the limitless use of plastics as a packaging material. Lightweight bottle designs reduce material consumption in packaging development. After use, plastic packaging is recycled at Clean Tech, Plastipak’s recycling company, to turn the used plastics into resin to manufacture new packaging in a bottle to bottle recycling approach.
Packaging Matters™ as Plastipak’s sustainability-focused technologies maximize the reusability of plastics in each step of the life cycle of PET and HDPE plastic packaging. From recyclability to environmentally-friendly printing options and lightweight packaging, Plastipak’s technologies yield sustainable packaging solutions as part of our commitment to sustainability.
Plastipak partners with packaging and recycling associations around the world to fulfill its commitment to creating sustainable packaging and recycling solutions. Plastipak created Recycling Counts™, an online global community that educates, promotes, and supports recycling within communities. It’s Recycling Worth Repeating!™
Plastipak owns and operates four global Clean Tech recycling centers which recycle used plastic bottles into resin for the manufacture of new bottles. This bottle to bottle recycling approach is Recycling Worth Repeating!™
Founded in 1967, Putting Consumers First, Always!™
6,000+ Engaged Associates Worldwide
More Than 40 Production Sites
Securing Intellectual Property Through Patents
Making On-Time Deliveries
with Over 1,200 Trailers
50 Years of Innovation
Plastipak’s Sustainable Packaging
Doing Our Part with Sustainable Packaging
Plastipak is committed to sustainable packaging from design and development to recycling. We achieve sustainability goals by producing products with reduced container weight, carbon footprint savings, lower energy costs and recyclability. Packaging options produced with post-consumer recycled PET resin (PET PCR or rPET) and HDPE resin (HDPE PCR or rHDPE) allow for the sustainability that customers seek to lower the carbon footprint in packaging.
Plastipak’s sustainability-focused technologies maximize the reusability of plastics in each life cycle step of PET and HDPE plastic packaging. From recyclability to environmentally-friendly printing options and lightweight packaging, Plastipak’s technologies yield sustainable packaging solutions as part of our commitment to sustainability.
Longstanding Commitment to Sustainability
Since inception, Plastipak has proactively made sustainability a priority in PET and HDPE plastic packaging. From global recycling centers to green building standards and workplace initiatives, Plastipak incorporates sustainability into all operations.
Plastipak categorizes its sustainability improvements into three distinct groups:
Recycling Solutions at Clean Tech
Recycling for Sustainable Packaging
Plastipak’s global recycling centers reclaim plastic products to produce high-quality PET and HDPE post-consumer recycled materials (PET PCR or rPET and HDPE PCR or rHDPE) in our effort to supply sustainable packaging options to our customers. In North America, Clean Tech is one of the top plastic recyclers in the US. In Europe, Plastipak is the largest producer of food-grade rPET, with capacity to produce over 300 million pounds (136 tonnes) of food-grade rPET (PET PCR) material annually.
Bottle to Bottle Recycling
Plastipak’s recycling company, Clean Tech, recycles millions of pounds of plastic containers annually at its four global recycling centers. The recycled plastics are used to make post-consumer recycled PET resin (PET PCR or rPET), which is used to manufacture new packaging. Waste is eliminated as plastics are reused again and again in a bottle to bottle recycling approach.
More than Thirty Years of Sustainability
For more than 30 years, Plastipak’s recycling company, Clean Tech, has proactively made sustainability a priority in PET and HDPE plastic packaging. Through Clean Tech, used plastic bottles are recycled and turned into resin to make new bottles. This bottle to bottle recycling approach creates a sustainable life cycle for plastic packaging and waste is eliminated as the plastics are reused again and again. Plastipak maximizes the limitless use of plastic as a packaging material in everyday life.
A Brief History of Plastipak Timeline
Plastipak is founded by the Young family to provide plastic packaging for the family’s water delivery company
Plastipak produces its first PET bottle for a major customer
Clean Tech is established as a plastics recycling center in Michigan
Plastipak goes international with expansion into South America
Plastipak develops 30 station G.E.M. PAK extrusion wheel systems
Plastipak furthers its global presence with expansion into Europe
Major expansion of the Clean Tech recycling center in Dundee, Michigan
Plastipak pushes its geographic boundaries with expansion into China
Plastipak celebrates its 50-year anniversary
Plastipak is a global leader in packaging innovation and recycling solutions
Plastipak’s Awards and Certifications
DuPont Environmental Award for a container made from 100% post-consumer recycled PET resin (PET PCR or rPET)
DuPont Environmental Award for a Kraft dressing bottle made with 25% post-consumer recycled resin (PCR PET or rPET)
LEED certification for Plastipak’s Victorville, California site
DuPont Gold Award for Technological Advancement and Responsible Packaging for Direct Object Printing
Honorable Mention as a Detroit Free Press Michigan Green Leader
Best of Show Award in the PAC Gold Sustainable Packaging Category for Plastipak’s EPET Simply Orange bottle
Sustainability Merit of Honor from Jussara in Project ReCiclo for Plastipak Brazil
Certified Green Business status for Plastipak’s Jackson Center, Ohio site
NRA (National Recycling Awards) Recycling Facility of the Year Award for Clean Tech’s Hemswell, UK site
Best Environmental or Energy Efficiency Initiative of the Year at the Plastics Industry Awards
Best Business Initiative of the Year at the Plastics Industry Awards
Plastipak’s Sustainable Technologies
PET, HDPE and Preform Technologies
Yielding lightweight, recyclable plastic packaging
Direct Object Printing
Printing directly on the bottle with eco-friendly ink while eliminating label substrates
A best-in-class hot fill solution with decreased container weight
Offering clear, recyclable packaging utilizing extrusion molding
Lightweight Neck Finishes
Fulfilling sustainability goals by reducing overall material consumption
Post-Consumer Recycled Resin Making
Manufacturing post-consumer recycled resin for environmentally-friendly packaging
Offering 85% lighter weight for jars compared to glass alternatives
Lightweight PET aerosol containers with a low carbon footprint