Introducing Sustainable Materials Into Your Injection Molded Products

The principles of the circular economy align seamlessly with recycling plastic waste to create new products or introduce this material into existing products, thereby reducing dependence on virgin materials. While incorporating recycled materials into injection molding holds significant promise, it comes with many challenges arising from the distinctive properties of recycled materials and the requirements of the injection molding process itself. At Plascon Plastics we specialize in working collaboratively with our customers to meet their sustainability goals through evaluating and incorporating more recyclable materials into their products.

Leveraging the Value in Using Recycled Content

Recycling plastics from consumers often adds value to this waste material due to the expensive nature of collection, sorting and processing often making it more expensive than virgin plastic.  In light of cost disparities with virgin raw materials, identifying the added value that plastic recycling brings becomes crucial. Communicating your use and initiatives using recycled material in your injection molded products to customers and stakeholders not only positively impacts sustainability communication but can also positively influence sales. Plascon Plastics has worked with many global brands, such as LUSH Cosmetics, who’s sustainability journey is deeply embedded in their strong brand.  Plascon also helps with cost mitigation strategies such as developing new molds that can often mitigate the cost of using recycled materials.

Increasing Availability of Recycled Plastics

A reliable supply of recycled plastic raw materials is imperative for widespread adoption among manufacturers. Leveraging Plascon's extensive local and international network enables us to source the right recycled plastic tailored to your specific needs.  Effective recycling practices are crucial for obtaining high-quality recycled plastics suitable for injection molding. British Columbia, Canada, remains one of the leading jurisdictions in recycling programs that is integrated with processors and producers of recycled plastic resins.  When Plascon evaluates projects with its customer, first and foremost we look at material availability and sourcing to determine long term project feasibility.

Respecting Manufacturing Processes

Integrating recycling at the product design stage is a proactive approach to respecting manufacturing processes. Recycled plastic often has diverse and variable properties affecting color, shape, structure, and melting point, necessitating careful consideration in the production processes.  Designing plastic components with recycled materials presents limitations such as differing shrinkage rates, flow characteristics, and dimensional stability compared to virgin materials.

Recycled plastics' inherent variability, stemming from contaminants, poses challenges in maintaining injection-molded part quality as recycled content increases. Addressing these design limitations involves modifying mold design, gating systems, and processing to accommodate the unique characteristics of recycled materials.

Plascon Plastics holds the expertise to evaluate product design and consider the variable nature of recycled plastics in order to determine the right design, engineering and molding processes in order to achieve our customers goals.

Future Projections

We anticipate a significant increase in recycled plastic waste, this surge is fueled by increasing customer demand and a global shift towards regulatory actions targeting single-use plastics and implementing extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulations. With increasing regulations and consumer demand determining the minimum percentage of recycled content in products companies must prepare now in order to meet both external and internal goals.  From concept to production, this timeframe can be anywhere from 6-24 months depending on the complexity of of the product and state of readiness of the organization. Plascon Plastics works with brands on all steps of these processes from initial design, material selection, mold design & engineering to production.

Regional Leadership

British Columbia, Canada has emerged as a front-runner in championing extended producer responsibility (EPR) recycling programs, boasting more programs than any other jurisdiction in North America. With 315,000 tonnes of plastics, including those from electronics, beverage containers, and other packaging, annually captured in B.C.'s EPR programs, it serves as an exemplary model for sustainable waste management. Plascon Plastics has received several grants from the Clean Plastics Action Fund to develop new consumer packaging and distilled spirit closures for global brands that are made from 100% recycled material. We work directly with producers to further drive the circular economy environment.

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