- August 2019
Polypropylene cards – Why?
How do Flowerhead designed cards stack up on environmental merits against traditional cardboard celebration cards?
To take the whole life cycle of the two products contrary to the perceived wisdom that cardboard is greener than plastics you may be surprised to learn that the plastic used for our flower presentation designs, namely polypropylene, is greener and more environmentally friendly that traditional cardboard, and here’s why.
The case for polypropylene
Polypropylene is one of the most neutral plastics, containing only two elements: carbon (C) and hydrogen (H)
Polypropylene helps in reducing greenhouse gas emissions – because it’s manufactured from propylene monomer, a relatively safe gas, which is a waste by-product of the petroleum industry. It used to be burned off into the atmosphere contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. As a consequence, the more polypropylene used in products helps in reducing these gas emissions.
Polypropylene is 100% recyclable – because polypropylene doesn’t have lead or any other heavy metals in the manufacturing process. Because of its durability it is also reusable.
Polypropylene is much more tolerant to heat – even under extreme conditions it will only generate carbon dioxide and water.
In the specific application of our living flower cards the polypropylene is impervious to water so any spillage onto the card will not deform or cause the card to tear. In addition, because of its durability the flower card can be reused as a flower vase.
So what about cardboard?
Since cardboard is biodegradable and recyclable, one would think that it should be the most environmentally friendly material to use.
Householders continue to see plastic as wicked and paper-based goods as benign. But when considered over the entire life of the product, paper and cardboard embody far more greenhouse gases than their plastic equivalents.
Paper products take substantial amounts of energy to make. Crushing a tree down into small fibres, mixing the wood pulp into a slurry and then passing the wet mass through huge rollers cannot be done without the use of enormous quantities of power. The process to fabricate paper from wood uses chlorine-based bleaches that result in toxic emissions to air, water and soil.
Making paper and cardboard is almost certainly the third largest industrial use of energy on the planet. By contrast, plastic is light, durable and its manufacture is generally not particularly energy intensive – at least by comparison to paper.
A second concern is that many paper and cardboard products end up in local authority landfill, where they rot down anaerobically, creating the greenhouse gas methane in the process. Plastic, as is well known, doesn’t rot and sequesters its carbon for ever, and in the case of polypropylene is 100% recyclable.
So don’t feel guilty about sending one of our living flower cards, it’s environmental impact is probably more benign than a traditional wood based card.
Have a look at our card range HERE.