Should Businesses be using Biodegradable Plastics?

The level of plastic packaging pollution has led to a global environmental crisis. Some plastics take up to 500 years to decompose whilst other plastics such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene take much longer to decompose. The Earth has been heavily contaminated by the rubbish that we throw away.

Plastic use within Western Europe continues to grow at about 4% per year. If this continues, in 20 years, plastic use will have doubled. Reducing the plastic waste we produce is of paramount importance. However, lowering and regulating plastic wastage is difficult for organisations, particularly if they operate over multiple sites.

ID Card Centre supplies a huge range of plastic products to customers all over the world. It’s important to us to put environmentally friendly products and services in place to encourage responsible disposal of our plastic products after use.

Which is best – compostable, biodegradable or recyclable?

The growth of recycling plastic introduced a degree of confusion concerning compostable, biodegradable and recyclable plastics. According to the British Plastics Federation (BPF), using recyclable and compostable plastics is a better environmental solution than using biodegradable plastics. This is largely because, under the right conditions, biodegradable plastics break down into small microplastic particles which pollute soil and enter the water cycle. For the same reason, biodegradable plastic would pollute mainstream recyclable plastics processing.

Also, biodegradable plastics won’t degrade without sufficient oxygen and sunlight. The BPF even suggests that using biodegradable plastics could contribute to littering, because culprits believe their plastic waste will disappear through natural decomposition. In reality, the chances of the plastic remaining in the right conditions to fully degrade are slim. Even the best-case scenario of 100% degradation, you’re left with plastic particles polluting the environment.

Can companies recycle PVC plastic cards and badges?

Did you know that plastic ID cards and access control passes and fobs can be recycled, instead of going into landfill?

Disposing of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic cards can be difficult. Although they can be recycled, given the right conditions and equipment, they can’t generally be recycled alongside general plastic waste, owing to contamination issues. This is due to the presence of PVC, which increases durability.

What should businesses do with their used ID cards? Putting them in general office waste destined for landfill would harm the environment. Disposing of ID cards without taking appropriate security measures can cause a GDPR breach.

In response, we have introduced an eco-friendly, secure recycling service that allows you to send us your unwanted plastic cards so we can recycle the plastic securely. All of our waste PVC cards are shredded and ground into polymer granules which are melted and reused to manufacture entirely different products.

We also securely recycle used card holders, ID card printer ribbons (helping you to avoid breaching GDPR) and lanyards, which we break up into components so that as much as possible is recycled.

Compostable plastic cardholders!

Where there’s a lanyard or security pass, there’s usually a cardholder. Did you know that cardholders can be made of compostable plastic? If you’re using PVC cardholders, consider compostable plastic cardholders, which can be thrown on a compost heap or into a green waste bin.

Compostable plastic cardholders, unlike PVC or biodegradable equivalents, entirely decompose into organic matter, which benefits the ecosystem – just like other green waste. Compostable plastic does not release any harmful residues into the soil because it’s made from poly lactic acid, a plant-based polymer.

This is more sustainable than PVC. Compostable plastic cardholders are 100% renewable, meaning that they can be left to decompose into compost, so plants can absorb the natural elements released, reusing the energy within the natural environment.

Switch to eco lanyards

ID Card Centre’s eco lanyards are made from 100% recycled PET plastic, which can be completely recycled when the lanyards are no longer needed.

Made from recycled plastic bottles, these woven lanyards can be printed on and branded to hold ID cards, name badges and security passes at events. These lanyards are fully recyclable, so once your event has finished or the lanyards are no longer needed, they can be thrown in most general recycling bins or sent to us – if you do, you will receive a discount off your next order.

Alternatively, our bamboo lanyards are 100% sustainable, because bamboo grows so quickly, and they can also be fully personalised.

Send your used printer ribbons for recycling

Like printed PVC cards, used plastic card printer ribbons often can’t be recycled with other plastics due to contamination issues and potential GDPR breaches. However, ID card printer ribbon cartridges are primarily plastic and can be recycled.

You may have noticed, when printing your plastic cards, that the design printed on the card also appears on the ribbon. This is because the thermal print head in your printer forces the coloured pigment on the ribbon onto the ID card. See our guide on how a printer ribbon works to find out more about this.

That’s why, as well as offering a recycling service for printed cards and lanyards, we can also securely recycle your used printer ribbons.

The ribbons are deconstructed and the plastic spindles and framework are put into normal recycling whilst the ribbon itself, due to the high oil and pigment content, is shredded and used as EfW (Energy for Waste) which is when the material is burned and the heat produced turns water to steam which can be used to generate electricity. The ash produced from burning the material can be used, too- in the construction of highways, for example.

All customers that use this service receive credit off their next order – just like with our plastic card and lanyard recycling service.

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