It's no secret that plastic packaging is everywhere. You can find it on grocery store shelves, your kitchen, and even on the street.
But you may not know how many different chemicals are used to make plastic packaging.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the production of plastic packaging and identify some of the hazardous materials used.
Stay tuned for more!
What Is Plastic Packaging?
Plastic packaging is often chosen because it is lightweight, durable, and moisture-resistant. It can also be transparent or colored to showcase the product inside. Some types of plastic packaging can be recycled, while others cannot.
How Is Plastic Packaging Made?
Plastic packaging is made from polymers, which are long chains of molecules. Here is the process:
Polymers are long chains of molecules, and plastic packaging is made from these polymers. The first step in the process is to create the polymer chains. This is done in a factory, where the raw materials are combined and heated until they liquefy. Once the polymers are liquid, they can be formed into the desired shape.
After the polymer chains have been created, they need to be cooled and hardened. This is done by passing them through a series of rollers. The rollers apply pressure to the molten plastic, which causes it to harden and take on the desired shape.
The final step is adding finishing touches, such as printing or labels. This is typically done by machines, although some packaging may be hand-finished. Once the packaging is complete, it can be used to store and transport products.
So this is how the plastic is made into packaging. It's a pretty simple process. Now let's see which chemicals are used in this process.
What Chemicals Are Used in Plastic Packaging?
There are a variety of chemicals that can be used in plastic packaging, but some of the most common ones include:
- Bisphenol A (BPA): A chemical used to make plastics harder and more resistant to breaking. BPA has been shown to have hormone-like effects in animals, and there is some evidence that it may also cause health problems in humans.
- Phthalates: A group of chemicals used to make plastics softer and more flexible. Phthalates have been linked to various health problems, including reproductive abnormalities and infertility.
- Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs): Chemicals used to make plastics water and grease repellent. PFCs have been linked to cancer, liver damage, and reproductive problems.
- Plasticizers: Chemicals added to plastic to make it softer and more flexible. Plasticizers can leach out of the packaging and into the food or beverages.
So these are some of the most common chemicals used in plastic packaging. As you can see, many of them are potentially harmful to human health. This is why it's essential to be aware of the dangers of plastic packaging and take steps to avoid it.
Benefits Of Using Plastic Packaging
There are some benefits to using plastic packaging. Plastic packaging is often chosen because it is:
- Lightweight: Plastic packaging is lighter than other types of packaging, such as glass or metal. This makes it cheaper to transport and easier to handle.
- Durable: Plastic packaging is strong and resistant to damage. This helps to protect the products inside from breakage and contamination.
- Moisture-resistant: Plastic packaging is resistant to moisture, which helps to keep the contents dry and fresh.
- Recyclable: Some types of plastic packaging can be recycled, which helps to reduce waste.
So these are some of the benefits of using plastic packaging. However, weighing these benefits against the potential risks to human health is essential.
Risks Of Using Plastic Packaging
As we've seen, there are several risks associated with using plastic packaging. These include:
- Harmful chemicals: Many chemicals used in plastic packaging harm human health. This includes BPA, phthalates, and PFCs.
- Leaching: Plasticizers can leach out of the packaging and into the food or beverages. This can increase the number of harmful chemicals that you're exposed to.
- Contamination: Plastic packaging can contaminate the contents, especially if it's not properly cleaned or sterilized.
So these are some of the risks of using plastic packaging. These risks must be considered before deciding whether or not to use plastic packaging.
Although it is difficult to ascertain an exact number, we can estimate that it takes around 10-20 chemicals to create a typical piece of plastic packaging.
This means many potential points of contact for harmful toxins and pollutants.
If you're looking for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly option, check out BeautySourcing for information on low-risk plastic packaging.