For the past 40 years, Plasgad has been manufacturing reusable packaging solutions. We also take it upon ourselves to recycle our products using our sophisticated processing workflow
The importance of switching to reusable products has been long recognized worldwide. To secure our future it is essential to reduce wasteful consumerism, which directly harms the environment, and find ways to reuse products, particularly the most commonly used ones. To achieve this, many countries have set ambitious targets and taken various steps to reduce the use of disposable materials and replace them with biodegradable or recyclable ones.
Israel is among such countries. According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, in 2018 the recycling rate increased to 24% of all the waste produced in the country. Furthermore, the Ministry’s strategic plan for waste management targets a recycling rate of 51% by 2030.
The push to maximize the recycling of daily-use products is a joint effort of many interest holders: the public, the authorities, and the industry. For several years now, there has been growing recognition among industrial bodies of the importance of a circular economy, which prevents waste by recycling products and raw materials and reusing them for manufacturing or other purposes.
Plasgad is a leading proponent of the circular economy concept. All the products we manufacture for our customers are reusable and can be recycled and reprocessed.
Ofer Karmon, Plasgad’s CEO, says: “For our company, this approach is not some kind of a trendy novelty for being ‘green’. It has been on our agenda since the day the company was established, back in 1982. We were born environmental.”
He explains how the company was founded out of the imperative to create an alternative to disposable packaging – especially packaging made of cardboard and wood – due to their highly damaging effect on the environment. “In recent years, the awareness of the need to shift to reusable packaging has been trickling down to the public and the entire industry, as part of the welcome trend of protecting the environment. There is a growing realization that we simply cannot keep filling up the world with trash. It took time, but it is happening. We were there from the start”, he says.
Plasgad manufactures “secondary” packaging, used for delivering packed products. For example, we manufacture Tnuva’s milk crates, which contain milk cartons. The milk is delivered in Plasgad’s crates to chain stores and returned to Tnuva for reuse; and the process is repeated until the crates are amortized and returned to Plasgad to be shredded and reinjected and made into new packaging products.
Reusable packaging has many advantages beyond the environmental aspect. According to Karmon, Plasgad’s solutions – which are manufactured using a plastic injection technique – are more hygienic than equivalent packaging solutions made of cardboard and wood. “Since the outbreak of COVID-19 we have observed a rising demand for our solutions, among other reasons due to their high level of hygiene, and the fact that they don’t require a special disinfection process like other packaging products.”
Besides Tnuva, the company’s customers include the Central Soft Drinks Company, leading chain stores, and many other companies in Israel and around the world. The company’s products include advanced solutions for automated warehouses. Plasgad is currently developing a number of major projects, including collaborations with Iscar and Israel’s National Library.
Still, Plasgad’s commitment to the concept of the circular economy goes beyond just manufacturing reusable packaging. The company also focuses on recycling and repurposing its packaging solutions. “After several few years of use, the products show signs of wear and tear,” says Carmon. “At this stage, they are returned to us. We then use our sophisticated process to shred them, mix them with additional raw materials, and manufacture new products. Nothing is lost. This is a pure circular economy.”
With the growing understanding of the importance of reusable packaging, the pricing concerns are becoming a non-issue. Today, more and more customers realize that higher-priced, more sophisticated packaging solutions end up costing less in a long run thus making an excellent long-term investment.
A recent example of such thinking would be a prominent European retailer, who realized savings of over one million euros in the first year alone after switching to Plasgad solutions. The retailer delivers products to 200 stores, and its daily delivery route includes 5 stores with an average daily travel distance of 200km. By switching to Plasgad’s pallets, they saved 13,976 trips and pallet load cycles, 754,729 liters of diesel fuel, and 7,295,718 kg of carbon emissions!
What’s next? In collaboration with leading research institutions, we are currently conducting a number of material research projects to develop a process that would allow us to utilize additional types of consumer waste for industrial purposes and to optimize our current use of existing materials for our manufacturing processes.