Why Sustainability in Injection Molding is Good Business

There’s more than one reason for brand owners, injection molders, and community investors to encourage the recycling of plastics, especially in the injection molding industry.

Many people in today’s globally connected world are concerned with the excess volume of plastic waste in the environment. At the same time, innovations in the injection molded plastics industry now provide the opportunity to include more recycled plastic into products and packaging.

Public interest in Environmental, Social, and Governance initiatives (ESG) and sustainable finance opportunities are driving investors toward emerging technologies in recycling, processing of recycled materials and to a circular economy that benefits businesses as well as the environment.2

Raising Investments …

ESG initiatives are gaining attention as investment lures, even in the plastic injection molding industry. A recent Gartner article asserts that 85% of 2020 investments included ESG factors in their venture determinations and that stakeholder perception of corporate ESG activities strongly influenced that investment selection.3 Companies that publicly reported their ESG efforts were also more likely to gain a deeper investor pool. 

  • Media coverage of ESG information, scores, or ratings rose by over 300% from 2019 to 2020 — as more people were seeking information about how their money might positively impact global sustainability goals.
  • 91% of financial institutions that report their activities acknowledge that they also monitor the ESG efforts of their corporate investments, as do 24 globally based credit rating agencies.
  • 90% of insurance companies not only monitor ESG functioning, but some will limit coverage or investment in assets with a weak ESG portfolio, depending on the industry.

… While Reducing Carbon Emissions

Of course, the primary purpose of any environmental initiative is to reduce all harmful, industrially-generated impacts on the environment, not just the accumulation of disposed goods. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are considered to be a significant driver of climate change.5 Most industrial production processes generate CO2 by burning fossil fuels for energy; the more CO2 emissions released by product manufacturing, the larger the carbon footprint is for that producer. For investors these days, measuring a company’s carbon footprint is rapidly becoming as significant as their quarterly investment returns, so the C-Suite is wise when it considers ways to keep that footprint as small as possible.  

For injection molders who utilize the iMFLUX platform, they can realize immediate energy savings of up to 20% per part produced.  These savings are largely due to the low-constant-pressure injection process that requires less clamp force while at the same time reducing cycle times, resulting in more production with less energy.  

Incorporate Additional Recycled Resin

There are other opportunities with iMFLUX that injection molders can take to further reduce their carbon footprint. The plastics industry is developing solutions to address the challenge of using more recycled resin. One such solution is offered by iMFLUX, which has engineered a platform that enables injection molded product producers to efficiently incorporate more PCR. iMFLUX’s ground-breaking low-constant-pressure injection molding platform promises the capacity to convert significant percentages of previously disposed plastics into valuable, usable products again with lower scrap and less operator intervention.  Production with recycled resins is also a carbon footprint savings.  Virgin resins require three times the energy to be produced than recycled resins.  

Invest in Zero-Waste Processes

Pursuing a “zero-waste” initiative as a corporate goal is a relatively new objective for many in the plastics value chain.  Eliminating scrap waste from the production process is a key element to any zero-waste program.  With iMFLUX, significant scrap reductions can be realized because of the ability of the low-constant-pressure platform’s robust feedback system to produce quality parts.  This focus on “zero-waste” is not only great from an ESG perspective, it should also be margin accretive. 

Design For Environmental Protections

An emerging industrial trend is to “design for sustainability” (DFS).7 Governments, industry regulators, and consumers increasingly scrutinize manufacturing processes for sustainable design principles when organizations build new or overhaul existing production facilities.

Sustainable design principles embed sustainability goals and practices within the entire manufacturing schema. These include optimizing the physical site’s environmental safety potential, choosing environmentally optimal materials, and enhancing operational and maintenance practices with sustainability in mind. Their purpose is to guide producers and manufacturers into including post-usage factors when designing both their products and the systems that create them. Fully incorporated sustainable design principles will consider, plan, and build strategies for the production, use, and, ultimately, the disposal, reuse, or recycling of the products and/or the materials used to create them. By viewing every corporate project and decision through a sustainability lens, enterprise leaders can make investment decisions that will improve corporate profitability and reduce their impact on the local community and the world in general. 

Beyond process technology, iMFLUX also has a world class Mold Build and Innovation Center where brands and injection molders can ensure new molds are designed for sustainability.  When a mold is designed to run with the low-constant-pressure iMFLUX process technology, the design possibilities for sustainability are immense:  higher cavitation, smaller presses, lighter weight parts and more.  

Contact the company today to learn how the iMFLUX platform can expand the production and sustainability capacities of your injection molding operations.

External Resources 

2 ESG Investing: Practices, Progress and Challenges

The ESG Imperative: 7 Factors for Finance Leaders to Consider

5 Greenhouse Emissions Rise to Record, Erasing Drop During Pandemic

Sustainable Design