What are ecological packaging? | bizfluent (2023)

Public awareness of issues such as climate change is influencing consumer purchasing habits and decisions. They choose products for their packaging from among the many desirable properties. Increasingly, green packaging is not just an environmentally friendly way to sell a product; It's about conveying the values ​​and spirit of a company.

Advantages of ecological packaging

Green packaging has other names, such as sustainable packaging, green packaging, and green packaging. To be eco-friendly, packaging can be biodegradable (but preferably compostable), recyclable, reusable, non-toxic, made from recycled products, biomass-based or natural products, or made with eco-friendly media.

For example, yogurt in glass bottles is eco-friendly, but plastic containers are not. Glass meets the definition of green packaging as it is recyclable but also infinitely reusable. If it doesn't break, glass will last for centuries.

How do organic products help the environment?

Consider the glass yogurt bottle. It can be reused until a few fingers of butter fall on it, otherwise it's easily recyclable in most parts of the world. But to make this glass, someone collects silica (sand, which is scarce around the world) and transports that sand to a factory. The truck consumes petrol and emits carbon dioxide, a "greenhouse gas" that contributes to climate change. Then turning that silica into glass requires electricity and other fuels to heat the furnace used to melt and shape the glass. It requires machines to form the glass and paper and inks to print and label the bottle.

Every time someone reuses the bottle, the whole process of using natural resources takes place one less time. And every time someone recycles a glass bottle, it may still take energy and cause carbon pollution by transporting, melting and reforming the bottles, but at least it doesn't use sand, and that's a resource expert say you always need more. Conservation.

Green products and packaging can also help in other ways. They can be biodegradable or made from more sustainable and faster-growing natural products like bamboo. Bamboo, for example, can be harvested every two to three years for paper and other materials, rather than over 60 years for a new tree to grow.

Simply using less packaging is also a great way to go green.

Examples of biodegradable packaging

By definition, “biodegradable materials consist of waste from living organisms and from plants, animals or other organisms at the end of their lifespan”.

Products made from paper, banana leaves, processed bamboo, plant fiber, and food waste are examples of things that can be biodegradable, meaning they will break down in a landfill. Even better for the environment are compostable products, which can break down in an industrial composting cycle but enrich the soil and provide a fertile place for other plants and plants to grow. Improving soil quality is important as the world population grows as it dramatically impacts our food production. Focusing on compostable products is a win-win solution. But while compostable products are always biodegradable, the reverse is not true.

Many large packaging companies make biodegradable polymers, a type of eco-friendly plastic and resin that use natural fibers in their manufacture. And forward-thinking companies like Level Ground Coffee are making unique compostable products. Their fair trade coffee beans are packaged in compostable bags that can be filled with soil and seedlings, planted in the garden and fully decomposed to enrich the soil. Recycled paper products can be processed into compostable packaging or containers, such as B. the {POST}MODERN Compostable Compost Bin, for people who store leftovers for composting, which cities like Vancouver, British Columbia are now requiring them to do.

There is no set standard for what constitutes “biodegradable” packaging and the result is that the term is being used more loosely by some companies whose products may fail, but not in the short term as consumers might think. The Biodegradable Products Institute is an outside, nonprofit organization that tests and certifies products as biodegradable and compostable and offers a searchable database, free for public use, to find products that meet these standards.

What is organic food packaging?

Organic food packaging has become more and more exciting lately thanks to innovations inspiring packaging designers around the world. From store-bought products to take-out and home delivery, eco-friendly packaging can be an essential part of protecting the environment.

People in their 40s may remember a time when McDonald's used plastic-based foam containers for its marquee burgers like the Big Mac. McDonald's was one of the first major companies to switch to paper take-out products. Over time, they even stopped fading their signature white paper bags; It all started in 1990. Today, McDonald's remains a leader in the snack food industry and has committed to sourcing 100 percent of its packaging from renewable, recyclable or certified sources by 2025.

Many restaurants in the takeout industry are switching to unbleached cardstock with plant-based inks for branding as consumers become more aware of the impact of takeout packaging.

And the products on the shelves are also getting innovative updates. Companies like Carlsberg Brewing have tested "paper bottles" for beverages and other liquids with great success. Further innovations have led to things like food packaging made from algae, which rapidly regenerate in the sea.

Australian food packaging is among the most innovative in the world. They include creative container design and new uses for products such as paper, plant-based resins and other recyclable materials, but not just because they are forward-thinking. The Australian government has mandated that by 2025, 100% of the country's food packaging must be recyclable, compostable or reusable.

Benefits of using organic products

Countries around the world are realizing that they must act to reduce the impact of litter on the planet. When trash isn't biodegradable or compostable, that's a long-term problem they need to find a place for. Unfriendly packaging is an eyesore and a logistical nightmare. A joint report by various US government agencies lists the time it takes for some packaging to degrade in the environment. They include:

  • Glass bottle: 1 million years.
  • Plastic beverage bottles: 450 years.
  • Aluminum can: 80 to 200 years.
  • Plastic bag: 10 to 20 years.

It's not just about Australia taking a strong stance. Morocco has already completely banned plastic bags in the country. In Kenya, using or selling plastic bags carries a possible four-year prison sentence or a hefty fine. China has also cracked down on plastic bags.

The point is, laws are changing and companies that don't lead the way in adopting green packaging now will soon be perceived as dinosaurs. By being part of the solution today, you're not only saving the planet, you're demonstrating corporate responsibility and promoting company values ​​loud and clear.

The argument that it is not economically viable for companies to make products and packaging greener is also not valid. A 2015 Nielsen study showed that 66% of global respondents were willing to pay more for eco-friendly packaging, a number that has certainly increased as awareness has increased.

Luxury brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton also promote their sustainable packaging. Garbage is processed into furniture and other desirable and fashionable products. Sports industry leader Nike boasts that it has prevented more than 3 billion plastic bottles from going to landfill since 2010 thanks to the use of recycled polyester in the manufacture of plastic clothing. He uses plastic to kit out the US national soccer team, and each team uniform is made from at least 16 plastic bottles for their jerseys, socks and shorts.

Society has learned the hard way that convenient packaging is bad for the planet. Today, the best packaging is either part of a brave new future that uses waste to create innovative products like Nike did, or a return to the old ways that make packaging so attractive it can be reused endlessly. Both appear to be great strategies for businesses to use to win.

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