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Importance of Sustainable packaging

Importance of Sustainable packaging

The practice and implementation of sustainability within the packaging world has become the standard and is utilized by most mainstream companies given their respective industries. Such a practice is held in regard because not only is it great for the environment, but it is a fantastic long-term investment that adds a sense of validity to the company’s overall Corporate Social Responsibility. This is monumental because as of recently, Sustainable packaging was not equipped with the technological basis, influence, nor the initiative to even consider itself the industry standard. A variety of companies have nearly relied solely upon unsustainable materials and production processes for packaging. However, as much as 20% of the materials were never used! Fortunately, large-scale industry initiatives, advances in digital technology, and sustainability communities have provided packaging manufacturers the insight they need to see the flaws in their approach to begin reinventing the entire process of packaging production.

What is considered Sustainable Packaging?

What is considered sustainable packaging? Before this can be answered, one should understand the basic principles enforced by the Sustainable Packaging Alliance (SPA), which state that in order for a package to be considered sustainable it has to embody the four following traits that are explained below.

  • Effective- “Provides value by protecting the contents within throughout the supply chain and supports informed and responsible consumption.”
  • Efficient- “The packaging line and machinery used are designed to utilize materials as efficiently as possible throughout the product lifecycle.”
  • Cyclic- “The materials used to package are continuously cycled through natural or technical systems to minimize degradation or the use of upgrading additives.”
  • Safe- “All parts of the packaging must not pose any risk to human health or the planet.”

In addition to this, another thing to keep in mind is that packaging should always come from recyclable and renewable sources. Such post-consumer recycled materials should not contain hazardous chemicals or carcinogens, and it should be confirmed that the packaging materials are biodegradable or recyclable. It is also advisable to avoid waste by any means necessary. There are existing technologies that do have the ability to reduce or even eliminate packaging waste from the production process. Examples of this would be if a company avoided streamlining packages by constructing them with less material to make the package leaner to make the plant operations move more efficiently. Moreover, the product’s life cycle should always be taken into consideration and green initiatives should be implemented throughout the products journey from point A to B, also known as from the manufacturing plant to the consumer. This ensures an increase in longevity and shelf-life concerning the product at hand.

Sustainable Packaging Solutions

A few examples of how brands and companies are taking a more sustainable approach towards their product are shown below.

Tide

Tide is a laundry detergent brand that was once packaged in plastic containers. The company collaborated with Amazon and P&G to create the Tide Eco-Box. The box has around 60% less plastic and 30% less water than the previous packaging.

Hasbro

Hasbro partnered with Amazon to develop a packaging system which allowed them to reduce waste and simplify packaging to avoid the “wrap age” that consisted of plastic clamshells and wire ties. By making this shift, they have reduced the waste by 50% and can also ship the product in its original packaging without the need for an additional shipping box.

The Paper Bottle Project

This company began using bio-based paper for its packaging. The packaging makes uses of materials such as virgin pulp which is 100% recyclable. This packaging also has the ability of performing the thermoforming manufacturing technique.

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut re-engineered its carry-out boxes by changing the shape to round and making the box out of 100% plant-based materials: 80% sugarcane and 20% bamboo!

Benefits of Implementing Sustainable packaging

The benefits of implementing Sustainable packaging is not limited to undoubtingly attracting a demographic and consumer base that is environmentally conscious and like-minded to your product, but it also includes the 5 following benefits detailed below:

1. Reduce your Carbon Footprint- “Carbon footprint is defined as the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc. Whether you believe in global warming or not, you are nonetheless reducing your CO2 emissions by cutting down on the amount of packaging you have to use to complete your finished goods.”

2. Gain Access to Storage and Space- “When you decide to make the packaging you use more sustainable; chances are you are finding more creative ways to make sure that you are being efficient about how much packaging material you use and how. Typically, when this shift to sustainable packaging happens you end up with more space.”

3. Eliminate Allergens and Toxins- “Most biodegradable packaging options are non-toxic and allergy free. Though biodegradable flexible packaging options are not plentiful yet, they are available and making their way to better affordability and easy implementation. Some lines of bioplastics are able to run on the same machinery that regular flexible materials are run, making the transition easier.”

4. Limit the need of Resources- “Reduce the amount of energy it takes to package a product or make the actual packaging itself. It can reduce solid waste, water usage, electricity and emissions.”

5. Save Money- “Sustainable and eco-friendly products tend to be packaged in more lightweight materials which ultimately can help you save on shipping costs. Think locally when sourcing freight carriers and materials for packaging. A well-thought-out logistics plan will directly impact your costs in a positive way. Not to mention your consumers will also appreciate when products are lightweight and easier to recycle.”

In light of this, companies should keep in mind that they do not have to make an overly drastic change concerning their business practices to make the shift towards sustainable packaging. Small changes can go a long way and consumers acknowledge this effort which in turn builds a sense of community around the product and brand in the long run!

References

Forbes, Phil. “The Role of Sustainable Packaging in 2020 Packhelp.” Packhelp, 18 Nov. 2020, packhelp.com/sustainable-packaging/.

Healthy Human. “7 Top Sustainable Packaging Innovations in 2019.” Healthy Human, healthyhumanlife.com/blogs/news/7-top-sustainable-packaging-innovations.

“The Importance of Sustainable Packaging: Compack %.” Compack, 7 Oct. 2020, www.com-pack.net/the-importance-of-sustainable-packaging/.

“The Rise and Growing Importance of Sustainable Packaging Design.” NS Packaging, 7 Aug. 2020, www.nspackaging.com/analysis/sustainable-packaging-design-importance/.

Roberge, David. “6 Benefits Of Sustainable Packaging.” Flexible Packaging Products & Services and Supply Chain Services, 9 May 2018, www.industrialpackaging.com/blog/6-benefits-of-sustainable-packaging.

Roberge, David. “Why It Pays to Use Sustainable Packaging Materials.” Flexible Packaging Products & Services and Supply Chain Services, 18 June 2019, www.industrialpackaging.com/blog/save-money-with-sustainable-packaging-why-it-pays-to-use-sustainable-materials.

Sutton, Alexandra. “20 Sustainable Packaging Innovations.” Board of Innovation, 27 July 2020, www.boardofinnovation.com/blog/20-sustainable-packaging-innovations/.

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