Are Returnable Plastic Containers Good for the Environment?


Returnable plastic containers can be something of a divisive issue: are they helpful for the environment or harmful?

While intuition might make a person feel that returnable containers are inherently helpful, it’s also understandable that their plastic makeup might make some people feel otherwise. It’s a well-known issue that plastic pollution is harmful to our world, so wouldn’t a plastic container—even if it’s returnable—be a net negative on the environment?

Well, as with all good questions, this one has a familiar answer: it depends. Today, we’ll be exploring whether returnable plastic containers have positive or negative environmental impacts, and how you can responsibly reduce your plastic waste while saving money.

Weighing the (Environmental) Cost of Returnable Plastic Containers

If plastic is so bad for the environment, then why do we use it to make returnable containers? Well, in short, because the environmental benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

In moderation, we and our planet can deal with the effects of plastic use in healthy ways. The great benefit of reusable plastic packaging is that it can reduce solid items entering landfills by 86%. This is because the vast majority of landfills are filled with single-use items and packaging, such as:

  • Plastic Bags
  • Plastic Film
  • Styrofoam
  • Product Wrapping

Items such as these can last for centuries in a landfill, though they can all be replaced with simple reusable packaging. And because of the durability of returnable plastic containers, just one can replace hundreds of single-use plastic containers.

At the same time, the environmental production cost of these single-use plastic containers is threefold, since they require much more energy consumption, water consumption, and CO2 emissions to create en masse. So, all in all, returnable plastic containers tend to be a fantastic environmental alternative to single-use packaging.

Monetary Cost of Returnable Plastic Containers

Not only do returnable plastic containers help save the environment, but they can also help save you money.

For each environmental benefit we listed earlier, there’s also an economic benefit to consider. Since organizations like us at Carter Associates only need to make one returnable plastic container for hundreds of shipments, a single-use packaging company would have to make, well, hundreds. On top of that, reusable packaging also saves you on:

  • Labor Costs
  • Product Protection
  • Packaging Waste Expenses
  • Product Protection Measures

Are you interested in saving money and the planet at the same time? If so, then returnable plastic containers may be the perfect option for you. For more information on getting the ideal packaging solutions for you, contact us today for assistance.

Tags: returnable plastic containers, reusable containers