Circular Economy in the Film and Sheet Markets: Closing the Loop for a Sustainable Future

  • Brian Lundgren , Director of Business Development
  • Gabriela Martin , Marketing Coordinator

August 3, 2023

As sustainability becomes increasingly important in many industries, the film and sheet markets are actively embracing the concept of the circular economy. This economy is a model of production and consumption which involves sharing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling preexisting materials and products for as long as possible. By transitioning from a traditional linear model to a circular one, companies are closing the loop and creating a more viable future through material reduction and regeneration. In this article, we will explore the significance of the circular economy in the film and sheet markets specifically and determine how advanced equipment, such as biax stretching, slitting, winding, and screen changer melt filtration equipment, can each contribute to the creation of a sustainable and resource-efficient film and sheet industry.

How does equipment used in the film and sheet markets contribute to the circular economy?

1. Reducing Raw Material Consumption with Biax Stretching Equipment: A key principle of the circular economy is reducing raw material consumption. In the film and sheet markets, biax stretching machinery plays a crucial role in enhancing production processes by downgauging material thickness while improving film and sheet properties. Manufacturers can produce films and sheets with lower raw material consumption and greater production yield, thereby reducing the environmental impact associated with upstream, intermediate, and downstream production steps.

2. Slitter Rewinder for Reduced Packaging Waste: Slitter rewinder equipment is commonly used in the production of various packaging materials. By enabling precise slitting and customization of packaging films or papers, the equipment helps reduce packaging waste. Manufacturers can create packaging solutions tailored to specific product sizes, minimizing excess packaging materials and optimizing resource utilization.

3. Maximizing Efficiency with Turret Winder Equipment: Turret winder equipment plays a critical role in the film and sheet markets, contributing to the circular economy through highly enhanced efficiency. This equipment enables seamless roll changes, reducing downtime and optimizing production throughput. By maximizing efficiency to reach the greatest possible production potential, manufacturers are able to meet customer demands, reduce waste, and achieve higher productivity, all with minimal energy consumption.

4. Screen Changer Melt Filtration for Quality and Sustainability: Screen changer melt filtration systems are integral to the circular economy in the film and sheet markets. These systems ensure the quality and purity of the raw materials used in production. By effectively removing contaminants and impurities, manufacturers can produce high-quality films and sheets using greater concentrations of recycled materials, while also eliminating unnecessary waste. Additionally, clean and filtered materials contribute to a more sustainable and resource-efficient production process.

How are film and sheet market participants actively collaborating to engage in the circular economy?

1. Collaboration and Closed-Loop Systems: Implementing the circular economy in the film and sheet markets requires intentional collaboration among stakeholders. Manufacturers, recyclers, and end-users are each forming partnerships to create closed-loop systems, ensuring the efficient flow of materials throughout the value chain of film and sheet production. At Parkinson Technologies, for example, we are specifically facilitating customer research and development on sustainable materials via our state-of-the-art extrusion and orientation pilot line. Through this process, our technicians work with our biopolymer customers to conduct pilot-scale material processing trials in order to more quickly realize material capabilities and end-market acceptance. By working together in this manner, company stakeholders continue to share knowledge, resources, and best practices, leading to innovative solutions and a more sustainable industry.

2. Energy Efficiency and Environmental Stewardship: The circular economy approach in the film and sheet markets promotes energy efficiency and environmental stewardship, which company leaders are cognizant to enact in their daily operations. Advanced equipment, including biax stretching machinery, converting equipment, turret winders, and screen changer melt filters, are designed with energy-saving features and sustainable practices in mind. By prioritizing energy efficiency as an industry value, film and sheet manufacturers continue to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a cleaner environment overall.

Ultimately, the circular economy is revolutionizing the film and sheet markets, paving the way for a sustainable and resource-efficient future. Through the reduction of raw material consumption, efficiency of recycling and regeneration, and implementation of equipment for quality assurance, modern technologies used in the film and sheet markets have not only adhered to the regulations fitting of the circular economy but have also surpassed expectations in many areas, promising a more sustainable future ahead. However, it is the people in these markets that truly act as the driving force of change for good as they collaborate together and consistently adapt to new systems in their endeavor to achieve environmental stewardship and produce a greener Earth. With these separate entities merging together under the singular purpose of preserving our environment, manufacturers in the film and sheet markets are continuing to close the loop daily, delivering on their promise for greater industrial sustainability.