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What Is PCR and Why Should You Consider Using It for Your Packaging?

May 1, 2018

When it comes to determining the best material for your next product packaging project, how do you choose?


TIP: The Pros & Cons of Common Custom Packaging Materials


Among all of the potential packaging options out there, PET plastic is by far the most popular for a variety of reasons. It leads the pack with overwhelming durability and affordability, but the environmental impacts of plastic disposal is a major drawback for the industry and concern among the growing Millennial consumer base.

That’s where post-consumer resin (PCR) comes in. Improvements in the recycling/reprocessing of material result in higher quality post consumer material which allows higher levels of PCR, up to 100%, to be used effectively.

What Is PCR and Why Should You Consider Using It for Your Packaging?

Post-consumer resin, or PCR, is the technical term for recycled plastic. PCR presents a new opportunity for companies looking for a more sustainable packaging option to offer their environmentally-conscious customer base.

Essentially, spent plastic waste collected at local recycling centers is sorted, sterilized and repurposed into new packaging options specific to your unique needs. Many packaging manufacturers that work with PCR, like Comar, offer a wide range of PCR levels in new packaging, up to and including 100%.

Why Is PCR Necessary For Your Company?

In the modern and ever-changing marketplace, it’s important to be sustainably conscious when it comes to the manufacturing practices and packaging materials that you invest in.

PET and HDPE bottles comprise 97.1% of the United States plastic bottle and packaging market. Together, PET and HDPE are 98.6% of the bottles recycled. ( Source: Plastics Recycling )

Because post-consumer resin is recycled material, it offers a wide range of advantages over virgin plastic in your product packaging.


1. Customer Preference


That’s right; many demographics prefer to do business with companies who put forth the effort to maintain a “green” or sustainable business model, keeping the environmental impact of their processes in mind.

70% of surveyed Millennials stated that a company’s environmental practices and sustainability directly impacted their buying decisions. ( Source: Earth911 )

Introducing 100% ​ Post-Consumer Resin PET packaging into your product line can have a positive lasting impact on customer retention and advocacy.


2. Reduces Your Carbon Footprint


It is widely known that sustainable practices and recycling can help reduce your company’s carbon footprint, but it is often thought that recycling plastic is more costly and damaging to the environment than sourcing the raw materials.

The opposite is, in fact, true:

The carbon footprint of manufacturing 100% PET plastic is 60% lower than virgin PET, including all the energy to collect, recycle, and remanufacture the plastic. ( Source: The Huffington Post )

Utilizing 100% PCR in your product packaging allows you to introduce sustainability and environmental responsibility into your business model while reducing your carbon footprint.


3. Regulation Compliant


Each state has their own set of rules and compliance regulations to manage and maintain the production of PCR and the volume of spent plastic in local landfills. So, it is important to work with a manufacturer who is both well-versed in local mandates and able to customize the percentage ratio of PCR, like Comar.

This ensures that you are working with highly skilled, well-trained manufacturers who can guarantee that your recycled PCR packaging meets any and all FDA regulations set forth for your particular market or industry.


4. Long-Term Market Stability


Because fossil fuels like petroleum are a finite resource, the availability of petroleum has gone down gradually over the last few decades, increasing the overall cost of petroleum products, including the virgin plastics that you would typically use for product packaging.

Of the 8.3 billion metric tons that have been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. ( Source: National Geographic )

Because so much plastic has been produced, with more being made every day, there’s an abundance of resources to leverage in new (recycled) post-consumer resin packaging options. Plus, that’s potentially 6.3 billion tons less waste in landfills and oceans.

If you consider the combination of these four primary advantages, the conclusion is that post-consumer resin can be a very real contender for your new go-to packaging material. It is environmentally-friendly, customizable, sustainable, and your customer’s love it.

So, what’s next?


How Can Your Business Harness All of the Benefits of PCR?


In order to harness the benefits of integrating post-consumer resin into your packaging line, you must first find a manufacturer that offers PCR and is able to accommodate your particular packaging needs.

Processing and manufacturing of post-consumer resin require specialized equipment and knowledge to truly harness its potential, and Comar is fully equipped to customize your next recycled packaging design project.

We use only the most reliable, high-quality sources of raw PCR materials to craft the end products:

•  PET Packer Bottles for nutraceutical vitamins and gummies
•  Standard Round Bottles with multiple uses
•  Modern Round Bottles designed for condiments, marinades, and sauces

We believe that by using high-grade PCR, we are enabling our clients to become more sustainable in their business model and help them maintain a hold on the growing market of environmentally-conscious consumers.

Want to know more about how PCR can impact your business? Get in touch with our expert team today!

By converting to 100% PCR on a 28-ounce bottle the carbon footprint will be reduced by a significant 60 percent or 63.14 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per thousand containers produced. (CO2e is the internationally recognized measure of greenhouse emissions.) When the same bottle is produced in virgin PET, emissions are 104.67 kg CO2e per thousand.

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