Do you give much thought to the environment? After reading several Packaging News articles (1, 2) recently, we’ve been thinking about sustainable packaging products.
Plastics continue to fall out of favour with consumers, so what substitutes should you consider?
Here’s five sustainable packaging trends we think you should keep an eye on:
Compostable packaging refers to any kind of packaging material that meets the EN 13432 standard (3, 4).
To achieve a compostable certification, a material must:
- Disintegrate to fragments smaller than 2mm within 12 weeks
- Biodegrade in 6 months
- Have no negative effects on composting processes
- Have a low level of heavy metals
- Not have an adverse effect on the chemical composition of compost
This kind of packaging is becoming popular for food retailers, as it can encourage composting among end users and cuts waste going into landfill.
Edible packaging is all about eliminating packaging waste all together. You may have seen the edible water bottle “Ooho!” from Skipping Rocks Lab that was turning heads earlier in the year (5). Other start-ups are looking into edible glasses, which aims to reduce land fill (6)!
If food packaging waste is a worry for you, you should also check out our blog about minimising foods waste through packaging.
Compressed Natural Materials
Did you know that you can make protective packaging out of materials like coconut fibres, hay and mushroom fibres?
As these are natural materials, they’re all renewable and sustainable long term. This means they’ll biodegrade, which we’re sure you’ll agree is a big benefit!
Generally speaking, materials like this are often by-products of other industries such as farming. Therefore, you’d also be helping minimise waste in other sectors and supporting the environment.
Biopolymers (aka Petroleum Plastic Substitutes)
If you do have a use for plastic in your supply chain, you might want to keep an eye on biopolymers. These are essentially substitutes for petroleum in the manufacturing of plastic materials.
Liquid wood is an example biopolymer based on starch or cellulose fibres from plants. Examples of biopolymers include brands such as Arboform, Fasal and Fasale. These can even be treated similarly to PVC and can be injection moulded or extruded.
With the cost and consumption of wood-based paper on the rise, people are starting to look for alternatives to minimise environmental impact. So what else can do the same job?
If you want to move away from wood based paper, you could use paper and tissues that are made from bamboo or sugar cane. Both make great paper alternatives because they’re soft, strong and biodegradable materials (7).
We can support your green packaging goals
So, if you need help our experts can help you source sustainable packaging materials and review your packing processes with your green goals in mind. Call us on 01902 496666, email us or complete our contact form to book time with one of our team.
(1) Packaging News
(2) Packaging News
(4) OK Compost
(5) The Telegraph
(6) The Guardian
(7) Caboo Products