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Flimsy plastic boxes are absolutely everywhere in the UK. They fail so easily under normal use that they and their fragments quickly end up being disposed of. Not only is this a major annoyance for consumers who have wasted their money, but it’s bad news for the environment as plastic waste is created. Our primary mission with Tough Crates is to stop flimsy plastic boxes from being produced by making good ones affordable. Consumers have the power to stop plastics from being abused and put into badly made products overnight if they simply stop buying them. We offer an alternative, starting with plastic boxes but hopefully moving on to target other badly made plastic items that are produced by the million only to be quickly thrown away.
Some more radical environmentalists would like humanity to stop using plastics altogether. Sorry, we just don’t think that’s realistic. Plastic products are just too useful. They can be durable when manufactured with care, they’re lightweight, hygienic and cost effective. The plastics cork can not be put back in the bottle. Plastic will not be uninvented. What we have to do is use and manage plastics much more carefully so they don’t end up in the sea or in landfill after an extremely short life.
Not only do our Tough Crates meet the ‘low hanging fruit’ criteria of being designed to last, but they already contain 40% recycled plastic. This gives a long term home to plastic material that might otherwise end up in the sea or in landfill. As plastic technology improves it will be possible to switch to higher proportions of recycled material without compromising on the strength and durability of our crates. Our ultimate aim is to produce incredibly durable crates that are made from 100% recycled material.
Tough Crates are 100% polypropylene and are easy to recover the material from for recycling. We did debate taking back any broken or worn out Tough Crates for in house recycling so we could be 100% sure that it was done responsibly. Unfortunately, the costs of transport (both environmental and monetary) made it somewhat impractical. For now at least, we depend on local council acceptance of plastics at recycling centres (which is available in virtually all of the UK) to ensure that our spent crates don’t become waste.
In the long run we have really high hopes that plastics are no longer an environmental problem but are actually part of the answer. We must make good quality plastic products that last a long time and invest in the technology required to improve the useability of recycled materials. We must move away from an economy based on continual waste, where money is only made when materials are used up. We believe that a closed loop or ‘circular economy’ is possible, where all materials are recovered and made into new products so that nothing becomes waste.
Tough Crates are committed to making progress towards these environmental goals. We don’t think we’re doing too badly already, but we really want to be a part of the green industrial revolution and circular economy. We gratefully receive practical suggestions for improvement from those with relevant expertise.