Sustainability information molded into a new product

Three Common Misconceptions about Sustainability

As the world pushes to be more environmentally friendly, our clients often ask about sustainability, recyclability, and recycled materials during the product development process. Here are three common misconceptions about recycling and a couple ways you can reduce the environmental impact of your product and its packaging.

Plastic Can Be Recycled as Many Times as Possible

Plastic can only be recycled about 2-3 times before it starts to degrade and lose its properties. While some recycling is better than none, materials like glass and aluminum can be infinitely recycled and can offer a better End-of-Life for your product.

Everyone Can Recycle The Same Materials

Since there is no national mandate requiring recycling, not all cities have curb-side recycling, leaving it up to state or local governments to implement recycling systems in their communities. Local programs don’t always accept the same materials and usually cater their services to their own recycling capabilities. While recycling can be a viable End-of-Life for your product in many locations, using recycled materials upfront in the manufacturing process and to create packaging will also increase your product’s sustainability without relying on proper disposal by the consumer.

The Recycle Symbol on the Bottom of the Item Means its Recyclable

A product’s Recycling Code, #1-7 often found on the bottom of an item, indicates the type of material that the item is made of but doesn’t always mean it is recyclable. To increase the recyclability of your product and its packaging, consider using the more commonly recycled materials like paper, cardboard and metal or #1 (bottles) and #2 (milk jugs) plastics that are more widely accepted.

Talking through the environmental impact of your product is an important step and can influence decisions throughout the entire development process. At Pillar, our goal is to always design high quality, durable products that will withstand the test of time and utilize our knowledge of innovative eco-materials and processes whenever possible. Drop us a line if you are considering a sustainable future for your new product idea or looking to refresh an existing product.