Packaging is everywhere, in your shopping trolley, your cupboards, your deliveries and so much more. This amount of plastic and other non-natural materials can cause environmental problems such as pollution. But there is an alternative: eco-friendly packaging. In this blog, we’ll cover all the benefits of eco-friendly packaging that you can gain from.
What’s the Issue with Normal Packaging?
The primary purpose of packaging is to contain and protect products. Today, packaging is usually an issue of convenience, especially when it comes to food and disposable items. The packaging we find is usually made of a type of plastic: polyethylene. It can come in various types:
1. Polyethylene terephthalate: commonly used to make liquid bottles. It’s the most common and most widely-recycled of all plastic resins.
2. High-density polyethylene: this is used to make containers for heavier items and liquids such as laundry detergent, shampoo or even crude oil.
3. Low-density polyethylene: used to manufacture plastic bags and flexible plastic films. This type of plastic is not widely recycled.
These types of plastic can even cover the clothes we buy, either given to us in a plastic bag or delivered in plastic packaging. Another issue caused by non-environmentally friendly packaging is their manufacturing process. Not only is the majority of plastic created by refining crude oil, but the degradation process is similarly harmful. As plastic degrades over hundreds of years, they can also release toxic substances such as bisphenol A, which can disrupt the hormonal systems of animals.
To fight these issues, let’s get to grips with the alternative: eco-friendly packaging.
What is Eco-Friendly Packaging?
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition has set up a number of rules when it comes to what can be called eco-friendly or sustainable packaging:
1. Beneficial, safe and healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle.
2. Meets market criteria for performance and cost.
3. Sourced, manufactured, transported and recycled using renewable energy.
4. Optimizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials.
5. It is manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices.
6. It is made from materials that remain non-toxic throughout the life cycle.
7. Is designed to optimize materials and energy.
8. Effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial closed-loop cycles.
Essentially, it needs to be made from eco-friendly materials, biodegradable and able to be either reused or recycled.
The Environmental Benefits of Eco-Friendly Packaging !
Reduces Carbon Footprints:- If it’s made from recycled products, the carbon footprint of your packaging will be greatly reduced. Similarly, if the packaging is made from natural materials such as bamboo or cardboard, the growth of such products actually draws carbon out of the environment. If you’re looking to make your business carbon neutral, eco-friendly packaging is the way to go.
Biodegradable:- If the packaging is made from natural materials, this means it will be biodegradable. Plastic is not easily biodegraded, taking hundreds if not thousands of years to break down, releasing harmful chemicals on its way. Some eco-friendly packaging, such as sustainable paper products, will even be compostable.
No Harmful Toxins:- Non-sustainable petrochemical resources such as crude oil, which is used to make most plastics, is incredibly harmful to the environment in terms of both extraction, refinement, distribution, use and disposal. Eco-friendly packaging has none of these issues over its lifespan. As it degrades, harmful chemicals such as the ones produced by plastic are not present.
Easily Reused or Recycled:- Part of what makes packaging eco-friendly is its ability to be reused or recycled. Encouraging the reuse of packaging means that its lifespan is extended, which reduces the need for new materials, further lowering its carbon footprint. If the packaging is of good enough quality, it should be able to be reused for things like further packaging, storage and even arts and crafts.
It Can Reduce Transportation Costs:- If you source good quality, eco-friendly packaging, it can mean you need to use less of it. This means an overall reduction in transportation costs.
Easily Disposable:- Using packaging materials which are easily disposable helps to reduce plastic waste from this planet. This also creates a huge impact on your brand image.