What is the Best Sustainable Packaging?
Comparing packaging materials for environmental sustainability.
When it comes to choosing packaging materials for your business, not only do you need to think about their suitability for the product, but you need to consider branding, budget, and sustainability. In this post, we focus on the latter.
What is sustainable packaging?
Sustainable packaging is a reference to the sourcing, manufacturing and use of packaging solutions that have the lowest environmental footprint and impact. This is a must for any business hoping to achieve zero waste.
To European and Japanese consumers, sustainability is seen as increasingly important to prevent further marine litter; whilst for consumers across Asia and the Americas pollution caused in manufacture is the bigger concern. This trend is leading towards many consumers being ready to pay more for sustainable packaging.
There are eight critical elements that brands need to be aware of when choosing packaging, including the following:
- The packaging must be recovered effectively and used in industrial and/or biological closed-loop cycles.
- The packaging must be designed to physically optimise energy and materials in manufacturing process.
- The packaging needs to be manufactured with the use of clean production technologies and best practices.
- Recycles and renewable source materials should be used and optimised
- Transport and location of the source should also be considered to minimise unnecessary pollution and shipping expenses.
- It must meet the market criteria for cost.
- Performance of the packaging needs to be fit for purpose and user-friendly.
- Finally, the packaging needs to be healthy, safe, and beneficial for communities and individuals throughout the entire lifecycle, bearing in mind that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers now place significantly more value on food safety and hygiene.
How do Sustainable Packaging Options Compare?
Now that you have a good understanding of what counts as sustainable packaging, let’s take a look at some of the different materials available.
What Sustainable Plastic Packaging is Available?
Plastic often gets bad press when it comes to the environment, and this is justified in most cases. However, there are a vast range of plastics available. Therefore, to pick the most sustainable solution, you need to understand the various forms of plastic and their impact on the world around us. So, let’s take a look at some of the main types:
- PP – Polypropylene: this is the single most used plastic packaging, thanks to its melting point and strong bearing. It degrades very slowly in landfills, about 20 to 30 years to be fully decomposed, however current technologies enable the melting of PP and its usage in the production of new items.
- PET – Next, we have PET, which is the most widely recycled plastic today. This plastic is most commonly found in single-use clear plastic bottles and can be recycled again and again. Common uses for the recovered material are polyester filling and fabric for cushion fillings, carpets, and fleeces.
- BioPac PET – PET plastic with BioPac additive allows this plastic to retain the functionality of traditional PET plastic yet will biodegrade 100-200 times faster than the usual lifespan of plastic. Unlike other biodegradable materials, this formula does not require UV or temperature of above 50 degrees Celsius to work. The plastic remains recyclable for other uses where accepted by the local recycling schemes.
- HDPE – This is another type of plastic that can be recycled. HDPE stands for High-Density Polyethylene. HDPE is found within stiff coloured tubs and bottles. It can be recycled into items such as detergent bottles and pens.
- LDPE – Low-Density Polyethylene, otherwise known as LDPE, can be recycled into bin liners.
How Sustainable is Aluminium Packaging?
Another type of sustainable packaging that you may want to consider is aluminium. As a lightweight material aluminium has one of the lowest transportation footprints. Aluminium can be recycled time and time again and it is proven to be one of the world’s most recycled materials. Plus, it is suitable when you want the product inside to cool faster, which is why it is often used to store food and drink.
How Sustainable is Glass Packaging?
Last but not least, we have glass, which is one of the most sustainable packaging products out there today. This is why we have a great range of glass packaging products for sale here at Lifestyle Packaging.
Glass is 100 per cent recyclable, and there are no limits with regard to how often you can recycle glass. It can be made into fresh packaging again, and again, and again, and you will not use any of the quality! In fact, it is estimated that approximately 80 per cent of glass containers that are recovered are utilised in new glass bottles and containers.
Making new glass bottles via the use of recycled glass can help you to lower the carbon footprint your business is responsible for by a considerable degree. This is because a much lower amount of energy is needed when compared with the energy that is needed when creating a new bottle.
Should your customer not recycle the packaging, glass will not leach harmful chemicals if it ends up in landfill.
How Sustainable is Card with Foil Lining Packaging?
The use of card with foil lining or printed foil is popular, as it offers stunning visual appeal and excellent branding opportunities. Foil tends to be very thin, which means that it will dissipate fully throughout the re-pulping process. This means in many cases that card with foil lining can simply be placed inside of the recycling bin, labelling shows recycling details for each different product.
What Sustainable Strategies can I use in my Packaging?
There are a number of different strategies that can be used when it comes to making sure that you go down the sustainable route. This includes the following:
- Using manufacturing partners that have sustainable practices.
- Avoid overpacking throughout the supply chain. It is not just about the materials that you use but it is also about the manner they are used in.
- Consider biodegradable packaging and compostable plastic alternatives, edible packaging, plant-based packaging, and recycled packaging materials.
- Shipping in a smaller package can make a difference, as can sharing disposal and recycling best practices.
What sustainable packaging does Lifestyle Packaging offer?
At Lifestyle Packaging, we work with clients to develop the most sustainable and eco-friendly packaging for your requirements. Whether for CBD packaging, fragrances, or something else entirely, you can rely on us to provide the most appropriate solution for your needs. Across the spectrum of glass to biodegradable plastic, we have all bases covered and sustainability is one of our core goals too.
Hopefully this has helped you to get a better understanding of the different considerations you need to factor in when you are looking for packaging for your product. Today sustainability is one of the most important factors facing the packaging world, from the materials we use and throughout the manner in which we use them, so a solid strategy is recommended to deliver a package that is fit for purpose and chosen by consumers.