Plastics Benefit Us All, but Responsible Use and Disposal Is Vital

There is no doubt that plastics have changed the world. Disposable plastic grocery bags were introduced in 1977, and they have become the standard throughout the country, even though there is a trend in some areas against their use and toward reusable bags. Despite some sentiment to the contrary, however, the growing use of appropriate plastics for every use from food packaging to furniture and electronics wraps to medical technology is good for business, good for humanity and good for the environment.

The kinds of bags and poly films manufactured by our “Made in America” factory in Mahwah, N.J. wrap, cover and contain every product imaginable, from automobiles to groceries, from the IV drugs that can save lives to live fish, from designer clothing to toddler toys. We manufacture distinctive shopping bags, personalized poly films, and plastic products in custom colors and designs for a whole spectrum of industries — more than 50,000 different sizes of polyethylene bags. Plastics are, indeed, a way of life and contribute to a better life for all of us.

The poly film that is used in the manufacture of plastic coatings, films and bags, even though derived from non-renewable resources, generally requires a minimal amount of energy to produce; lightweight plastic products are easy to transport and many of today’s plastic products can be effectively and economically recycled. Even if bags go to the landfill, they take up minimal space. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirms that plastic bags cause less greenhouse gas than paper, and they cause less air and water pollution.

The sight, however, of lightweight plastic grocery bags blowing in the wind or caught on tree branches is a pervasive one, and statistics bear out the fact that plastics are less likely to be recycled than other materials. Pollution in the form of plastics cannot be denied. But people can change that.

Education is a Factor

Plastics cannot be mixed with other recyclables, but today there are numerous municipalities and a growing number of businesses that offer recycling collection for plastics. In addition, the industry has instituted use a coding system to assist consumers and recyclers in the logistics of recycling. Many plastics, even bags, can be washed and reused for other purposes.

Recognizing that much of the plastic used today does not have to be single use is also beneficial in reducing waste, promoting environmental awareness and encouraging conservation. There are many ways to recycle used plastic bags that make sense for consumers. Rutan encourages reuse of bags whenever possible, and devoted a post to that subject in August 2014. Our company is also supportive of industry standards which seek to encourage recycling and reuse. In addition, we use both virgin and recycled polyethylene in our manufacturing processes.

We have earned our customers’ trust and support over our five-decade history. Our company principles of honesty, integrity and customer satisfaction are just as important to us today as they were two generations ago.

We take our responsibility to the future, and to the earth as a whole, seriously as well. Rutan encourages responsible use of plastics, including reuse, recycling and proper disposal of used products, so that future generations will share the benefits that we have passed on.