History of Sustainability

At Priority Plastics, we take our commitment to sustainability quite seriously. Throughout the history of sustainability, the word has conjured multiple or sometimes contradictory definitions. Some critics perceive it as a buzzword of the 20th century ecology movement.  In fact, the origins of the word date back almost 300 years.

Like many words, “sustainability” has had an ever-evolving scope of definition. However, one of the core values of the word has remained steadfast; sustainability, at its core,means having a concern for the future of our resources.

Origins of the concept: Sustainability

Originally coined in a German language forestry handbook, the term “Nachhaltigkeit”-  meaning “sustained yield”- first appeared in the year 1713.  At the time, the word was used to communicate the concept of never harvesting more than the forest can generate. The word captured the unique concept and this translated term started appearing in English in the mid-19th century.

As ecology became more of a discipline, the concept of sustainability began to be used outside forestry.  The word evolved in application, increasingly applied to all biological systems. “Ecological sustainability” grew in meaning to express the ability of an ecosystem to maintain its essential functionality and continue to be productive over time.

Sustainability in manufacturing and business

Because of growing concerns of the overuse of fossil fuels, the use of the word shifted again in the later 20th century.   In terms of manufacturing processes, the word “sustainability” began to be used more in terms of the sustainability of how humans live on the planet; the balancing of human needs without degrading the natural environment.  This is the meaning that most closely applies to Priority Plastics and today’s manufacturing standards.

The 2005 World Summit on Social Development set forth the basic goals of sustainable development. They included economic development, social development, and environmental protection.  The summit stressed that a balance needs to be reached among all 3 goals – with environmental protection limiting the expansion of the first two.

Priority Plastics Sustainability Commitment

Our sustainability goals are central to many of the directions we choose. As a result, we make impactful decisions that focus on reducing overall carbon emissions. We lessen the environmental impact of the manufacturing and distribution of our products.

  • Priority Plastics strives to use less resins.
  • We use an ever-increasing amount of recycled materials and post consumer resins.
  • Our plants strive for ZERO WASTE in all our processes
  • We implement sustainable practices in transportation, packing and facilities management.

Our products are a reflection of these goals.

  • Through LIGHT-WEIGHTING, we are creating containers that use less resins in our final products.
  • Through MULTI-LAYERING production techniques, we use up to 80% recycled materials in the products we make.

Both of these innovations make a substantial impact on our sustainability goals.

In summary, our history with sustainability doesn’t date back 300 years! However, it has long been an established core value at Priority Plastics – and, something we strive to improve upon every day.

Follow the links above to read more, or
Read More about the History of Sustainability at worldenergyfoundation.org.

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