What is “closed-loop”? The literal definition is a cycle that is self-contained. It can be likened to the more familiar concept of circular economy. For example, post-consumer plastic is circulated back through the recycling process and becomes material for new products. What makes this system special is that nothing leaks into the environment, every piece of material is completely returned to the process. This presents a challenge for innovators to optimize the production and waste management processes as much as possible, thus leading to a collaborative effort between two organizations, the mutual goal of which is to benefit the environment.
The goal of Chemicals Business, SCG, of realizing a circular economy, beginning within the company, has led to a collaboration with another like-minded organization – TPBI Public Company Limited. SCG, as the founder of KoomKah, a web application for managing waste banks as well as promoting the recycling of waste into useful items, and TPBI, creator of the WON Project to collect stretchy plastic for further recycling, both recognize the importance of actively implementing the principle of circular economy.
To this end, the two organizations each searched for new possibilities in their surroundings, settling on used stretchy plastic abundant in manufacturing plants, which inspired them with the idea to transform the discarded plastic into items that can be used in the facilities once again. This is the origin of the Closed-Loop Trash Bag, an excellent prototype for environmentally friendly trash bags.
The Origin: From Collaboration to Closed-Loop Trash Bags
This project began with the idea of evaluating each organizations’ resources, leading SCG to settle on the stretchy plastic films used to wrap products in the manufacturing plant and then discarded, which previously had been sorted and collected for sale to an external recycling facility. The next step was collaborating with TPBI to recycle the waste into plastic pellets, which could then be molded into Closed-Loop Trash Bags for use in SCG’s facilities once again.
“If we look at plastic waste as a resource that can be recycled and processed into something valuable, rather than as something to be discarded after use, we can create a circular economy through collaboration among all sectors.” – Somsak Borrisuttanakul, Chairman of the Executive Committee of TPBI
“This practical application of the closed-loop concept to create tangible outcomes is a great example of collaboration towards a mutual goal, with the determination to see this project through as a Key Success Factor.” – Chalermpol Hoonpongsimanont, Circular Economy Business Director of Chemicals Business, SCG
Eco-friendly Trash Bags with Enhanced Durability
The collaboration between the two organizations yielded eco-friendly trash bags which can carry a lot of weight and are resistant to puncturing while still being translucent so that the contents inside are visible.
The plastic formulation process for producing these eco-friendly trash bags begins with the molding of trash bags by mixing scraps of leftover plastic film from manufacturing plants with SCG™ HDPE S111F plastic resin, which is used to make extra impact-resistant industrial films and was born out of SMXTM Technology, resulting in SCG’s proprietary formula that not only delivers better product results than the typical translucent white trash bags available on the market but is also environmentally friendly as well.
The eco-friendly trash bags resulting from this collaborative effort are 28% thinner, or 50 micron thick, compared to 60-70 micron for conventional bags, while maintaining strength and durability. This means that the production of each bag requires less raw material and energy. Moreover, compared to regular translucent white plastic bags, these eco-friendly bags are more durable and have a less pungent odor.
Collaborative Development for Sustainable Progress
This collaborative effort has realized a closed-loop circular economy, beginning within the organization. A case study of the development and working processes of these eco-friendly trash bags can be used as a model for collaborative work between two organizations. The resulting benefits can also be further expanded to other partners to enable all parties to conduct their business in accordance with the principle of circular economy in a tangible way.
A significant outcome of this collaborative effort, other than the ability to function as a model for other organizations to adapt and implement, is its benefit to the environment, which is an important goal shared by every organization. Aside from reducing the use of new resources by optimizing current materials, the eco-friendly trash bags reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 400 kilograms per year, which is equivalent to planting 20 trees. This may not seem like much, but if the program can be expanded to other manufacturing plants, it could eventually be like planting an entire forest.
“All of our allies and partners are an important part in the success of this project, and leadership commitment is the key to motivating and supporting the team to see the goal and work towards it together.” – Thanawat Ou-Udomying, Application Development Leader, Chemicals Business, SCG
“This active collaboration between TPBI and SCG to implement circular economy in a tangible way may have begun as a small program, but it can be a model and inspiration for many others to collaborate and create various initiatives for the benefit of all parties.” –Sittichai Borrisuttanakul, Chief Operating Officer of Consumables, TPBI
For those interested in environmentally friendly trash bags, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on high quality plastic pellets from SMX™ Technology, please contact email@example.com directly.