Is Injection Moulding Sustainable for Plastic Manufacturing?

Plastic injection moulding is a widely used manufacturing process for creating everything from car parts to toys. But in today’s environmentally conscious world, an important question arises, “Is plastic injection molding environmentally friendly?” 

By implementing certain sustainable practices, the plastic injection moulding process can be made more sustainable and energy efficient, resulting in less waste, a reduction in overall costs and less negative environmental impact.

What are Sustainable Practices in Plastic Injection Moulding?

Numerous areas in plastic injection moulding can be optimised to make the process friendlier to the environment. These include:

  • Utilising recycled plastic materials
  • Reducing energy consumption
  • Selecting sustainable plastic materials
  • Effective waste management

is injectionmoudling sustainable for plastic manufacturing

Utilising Recycled Polymers

When considering sustainable practices, you may wonder, “Can recycled plastic be injection moulded?” Recycled plastics can be successfully injection moulded and this practice is becoming increasingly common as more industries focus on sustainability. Processes like closed-loop recycling allow plastics to be recycled within their polymer types to create the same product or different high-quality products of the same type of plastic. Utilising recycled plastic material not only reduces the demand for virgin plastics but also lowers fossil fuel consumption and cuts down the amount of plastic waste in landfills.


Reducing Energy Consumption in Plastic Injection Moulding

The plastic injection moulding machines and the additional equipment involved in the plastic manufacturing process require a lot of energy to operate. Traditional plastic injection moulding machines wasted a lot of energy and were powered by hydraulics and fossil fuels until the late 20th century. 

Today, modern electric plastic injection moulding machines are much more energy efficient. As well as utilising renewable energy sources to increase sustainability further, modern plastic injection moulding machines allow for tighter control of process parameters which makes production and energy use much more efficient. 

Plastic injection moulding involves heating polymers to high temperatures and using high pressure to inject the melted polymers into their moulds. Since temperatures and pressure levels for various types of plastic will vary, expert injection moulders can optimise these parameters by reducing cycle times to maximise production and reduce unnecessary energy consumption. 


What are the Sustainable Plastics For Injection Molding?

Due to the significant environmental impact of producing, using and disposing of conventional plastic, finding eco-friendly alternatives to traditional polymers has become a top priority for plastic manufacturers. 

In response, the plastics industry has been developing environmentally friendly materials such as:

  • Bioplastics – These bio-based versions of traditional plastics, such as bio-polyethylene are made from sustainable, renewable raw materials like sugarcane, vegetable oils, or food waste.
  • Biodegradable Plastics – Polymers like Polylactic Acid (PLA) and Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are not only bio-based but are also capable of being broken down by naturally occurring microorganisms.
  • Compostable Plastics – These plastics decompose into natural substances like water and biomass.

Other thermoplastics like Polycarbonate (PC) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) are also recyclable making them excellent sustainable plastics for injection moulding.

Utilising these sustainable plastics in the plastic injection moulding process helps lower the carbon footprint and reduce plastic waste. 


Minimising Waste in Plastic Injection Moulding

Waste in plastic injection moulding typically includes excess material known as sprues and many facilities like Fern Plastics choose to recycle and reuse this plastic material in production. By using in-house granulators to repurpose the waste material, we are also able to reduce the amount of time and resources needed to transport the waste to another facility for processing. 

Waste reduction, however, goes beyond the materials used in the injection moulding process. It also includes reducing wasted time and costs. Processes like lean manufacturing aim to reduce lead times and operating costs while maximising productivity and improving the quality of the end product.


Why Choose Sustainable Plastic Manufacturing Experts?

Choosing sustainable plastic manufacturing experts like Fern Plastics allows you to play your part in reducing the environmental impact of producing plastic products for consumer and commercial use. We demonstrate our commitment to sustainability by implementing an environmental management system or EMS. This EMS aligns with the requirements of ISO 14001:2015 and allows us to continually improve our environmental performance. 

By partnering with environmentally conscious plastic injection moulders like Fern Plastics, you can future-proof your business by enhancing a sustainable brand image and attracting eco-conscious customers committed to protecting the planet.


If you would like more information about our plastic injection moulding services, in-house tooling or any of our value-added services, contact our team online.