Harry Plast and the Environment
For 35 years, we have been working on packaging solutions from a sustainable development perspective
|From our raw materials to our manufacturing and waste processing, our entire manufacturing chain is ISO 14001 compliant. Our ground breaking in-house development have collectively earned us INPI recognition.
During our manufacturing process, we do not use any solvents, detergents or any other harmful, toxic or volatile chemicals. We operate on electrical power only and do not discharge any gases or smoke into the atmosphere.
Our materials are composed of recycled material in varying proportions depending on available shipments and deliveries from our suppliers. Our main suppliers are located within close proximity, enabling us to minimise on transportation.
We work in a closed loop so that we do not produce any unprocessed waste. Our company has always arranged selective sorting of its waste and recovery through recycling. We have several containers into which we sort and dispose of manufacturing waste (offcuts, material used for calibration, production failures, etc) as well as paper, cardboard and wood from our pallets. We sort according to different materials for optimum processing. Our waste is collected on-site by a specialist company that processes and recycles it as raw materials.
We are listed by sustainable packaging organisation Eco-Emballages . In 2011, we made a number of improvements to our buildings and production methods an and all of our staff have received awareness training on eco-design, gaining us ISO 14001 Approval.
co-Emballages is the main approved organisation responsible for minimising the use of packaging and implementing selective collection with guaranteed recovery. Subject to quality requirements (\"minimum technical requirements\", PTM) being observed. These minimum requirements are defined in conjunction with Valorplast, which groups together resin producers and processors and acts as a go-between for Ã‰co-Emballages and the recyclable plastics sector
Reconciling plastic and environmental awareness
Polyethylene is an environmentally friendly recyclable plastic material : It is cleanly manufactured, produces little waste and does not give off any harmful substances. It belongs to the family of recyclable thermoplastics, which are 100% reclaimable and whose processing requires very little energy.
Plastic bags and the environment
- It helps towards to prevention , an essential component of sustainable development. Any waste prevented is waste that does not need to be processed
- Since without plastic packaging (films and bags), the total weight of packaging would be tripled, the energy required to produce it would be doubled and the volume of waste would be multiplied by 1.5, it is unrivalled in terms of resource savings and hence reduction at source. Plastic bags are re-usable and hence 80% are re-used (sports, transport, picnics, dustbins). It should be borne in mind that options for disposal are limited, hence the huge importance of re-use
- Bags use 0.2% of resources compared to the 29% consumed by fuels, or the 35% that go on heating
- The energy value of polyethylene is 46 megajoules compared to 44 for furnace oil, meaning that incinerating polyethylene saves on the equivalent in furnace oil.Â Reclaiming energy in this way has therefore allowed a saving of 540,000 equivalent tonnes of petroleum (source: SPMP)
- Upon incineration, the plastic gives off water vapour and carbon dioxide, and under no circumstances discharges dioxins as erroneously claimed by the media
- It is a fully recyclable product. Plastic bags are sorted and may be recovered (the Auchan scheme) and recycled.
- It fulfils the Green Dot requirements and is a socially responsible form of packaging
Harry Plast on the recovery and recycling of plastic
This is the main form of recovery. The most natural solution (because plastic comes from petroleum) and that preferred by the profession, as Marc LebossÃ©, president of CSEMD, acknowledges: \"recycling enables us to eliminate the only problem with plastic, which is an image problem. Deep down, we think that thermal conversion is a good solution. \" Three arguments back this up :
Firstly, plastic has a high thermal capacity, comparable or even higher than traditional energy sources. Plastic therefore provides improved combustion and leaves less unburned material behind in the furnace. In total, combustion of plastic in the 80 household waste incineration plants fitted with a heat recovery system is reported to provide an annual saving of around 540,000 equivalent tonnes of petroleum. Plastic can also be used as a fuel in industrial boilers (Solparil in Arras, nothern France, who use their manufacturing waste to create steam for manufacturing packing films) or in cement manufacture (the waste used is industrial waste).
Secondly, incineration is a simple solution for the large volume of packing material that is too spoilt or too small to be recovered (bags, yoghurt pots, etc.).
And finally, incineration of plastics does not cause any specific issue in terms of hazards. While plastic gives off carbon dioxide and water vapour, as with other waste, it contains very little fluorine and no sulphur. And so, according to French plastics manufacturing association SPMP, were we to remove plastics from the household waste incinerated, this would lead to the paradoxical situation where combustion would give off more pollutants than without the plastics. There remains the issue of chlorine, which is not always examined in an unbiased manner, and therefore, not always considered with sufficient care. Plastic does not contain chlorine. With the exception of one polymer: PVC. Combustion of plastic does not therefore give off any harmful or toxic gases.
Recyclable plastic waste such as films, bags and other packaging can be collected. Once sorted and washed, it is melted to make a new paste which will be further transformed into pellets which will be fed back into the extrusion or injection cycle, producing new products. Very often, the recycled or "regenerated" material is used by dustbin liner manufacturers, but manufacturers also work with materials combining virgin and recycled pellets. Nowadays, a number of films contain a percentage of recycled product, with this proportion sometimes as high as 30%. Schemes to recover all forms of plastic films from waste-generating companies are coming on line and organising local collections for recycling purposes. The famous Bouchons d''Amour scheme endorsed by Jean-Marie Bigard collects plastic bottle stoppers that are melted and the paste thereby collected is used to manufacture new products such as plastic pallets. Ethique Environnement collects recyclable plastic waste (stretch-wrap and shrink-wrap, plastic waste, waste packaging, etc.).
Materials with controlled life cycles
Recyclable and recycled material
All materials processed by Harry-Plast SA are 100% recyclable plastics: low-density polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, polypropylene, triple-layer COEX. Harry-Plast uses polyethylene protective films on its adhesives: recyclable transparent films also made from polyethylene. The MÃ¶bius strip recycling logo attests to this process. In addition, a variable percentage of the composition of our materials already incorporates recycled plastic
This is a polyethylene material combined with an additive comprising a mixture of prodegradant substances, charge stabilisers, enabling polyethylene to be transformed into a degradable material. This material breaks down of its own accord within 3 months under the effect of light, oxygen and heat and totally degrades within 2-3 years. Its degradation process produces water, CO2 and biomass only, without any substances harmful to soil, plant growth or animal life.
These are plant-based materials, primarily based on potato or corn flour. The material degrades completely through assimilation by bacteria. To date, this material is extremely expensive (3-5 times the price of PE), and degradation times are slow.
Reusable sustainable development carrier bags
Out of a concern for the environment that we take deeply to heart, Harry-Plast markets \"sustainable development\" carrier bags, designed to be re-used a number of times. As a company striving for innovation on this key issue of preserving our environment, we regularly design and develop products using new materials and procedures enabling them to be re-used and thus minimising the consumption of raw materials.
Getting to know plastic
Recyclable plastic packaging is a product that is multi-purpose, modern, and the symbol for some of a consumer-driven society. The visible pollution that it produces when it is dumped into the environment often overshadows its qualities and the large number of benefits it brings to citizens. It unjustifiably suffers from something of an image problem compared to paper bags, which despite this have a much less favourable impact on the environment (EcoBilan ADEME / Carrefour). People often see things the wrong way round when considering the issue of pollution from the presence of plastic in the environment. We should ask what inhumane action has caused plastic to be found in the environment rather than denouncing the non-degradability of a product which we require to be durable and long-lasting. The following demonstration is valid for recyclable plastic packaging as a whole, whether plastic envelopes, plastic pouches or any other recyclable plastic film
The benefits of plastic bags
Polyethylene plastic bags have been around for 35 years. They are light, waterproof, reusable, readily combustible and non-pollutant from a chemical point of view. The polyethylene-based shopping bag has no harmful effects on either the soil or the water table. The only gases given off during combustion are water vapour and carbon dioxide. It is very durable and, to date, has not found any substitute. The criticism that it receives is engendered by a lack of civic duty on the part of some consumers, who leave it lying around to litter the environment. It is then the victim of its light weight, which means it can easily fly away.
Proposed developments to the shopping bag
The traditional carrier bag can now be supplemented with a range of bags that fully meet sustainable development requirements: large-capacity carrier bags - "NF Environnement" approved bags - bio-fragmentable and bio-available bags - shopping bags
Burning plastic is still poorly understood by the general public. While polyethylene combustion produces only carbon dioxide and water, just as with any waste, it never produces dioxins. Moreover, burning shopping bags in waste incineration plants provides a saving of 540,000 equivalent tonnes of petroleum (source: SPMP) every year.