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Much has been discussed lately in relation to the large amount of plastic debris that is floating around our oceans, causing untold damage to our marine ecosystems and also possibly to our own health. Although injection moulding as an industry is not directly responsible for a large amount of plastic pollution, both customers and manufacturers now want to see corporate social responsibility in action when designing new products or thinking about how we as a sector can reduce either our dependence on plastics or to ensure that they can degrade naturally without harming the environment.

This being the case, it is up to us to ensure that we provide ecological options to our customers who want to show that they are listening to their customers and working to save the planet. At the forefront of this is the use of environmentally friendly plastics in moulding – which are produced from resources that are finite, such as sugar cane and corn – unlike conventional plastics, which are produced using oils and other hydrocarbon-based additives.

However, it is not all plain sailing. Environmental groups still have concerns about these new types of plastics and there are question marks as to whether the these items will have the durability of their hydrocarbon-containing predecessors, meaning more production and more waste, even if the original product is slightly more environmentally friendly to manufacture initially. It also does not solve the problem of plastic waste in our seas, as whatever plastic is manufactured from could still pose a threat to marine animals. These are the real test for the industry and one that needs us all to work together to find a sustainable solution to a problems that is slowly choking our planet.