The packaging industry needs to understand how energy is consumed throughout the lifecycle of a package. Every step of the process uses energy, from the extraction of raw materials to the production of a product and its transportation. Energy is used to build factories, transport goods by truck or train, and even grow raw materials.
Flexible packaging reduces its carbon footprint
By reducing energy and resource consumption, flexible packaging can reduce the carbon footprint of a product. For example, a beverage pouch requires 90% less energy than a glass bottle and produces 96% less carbon dioxide. This type of packaging can also reduce shipping and storage costs. A flexible pouch also reduces landfill waste by 71%, and the carbon footprint of a product can be reduced by more than half.
Another major benefit of flexible packaging is the reduction of food waste. While more than one-third of food is wasted because of over-cooking and spoilage, flexible packaging can help decrease this waste. It also prolongs the shelf-life of food, which reduces the overall carbon footprint of a product. Furthermore, the resealability of a flexible pouch helps it maintain its freshness even after several uses.
The Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) recently published a study that provides information on the sustainability benefits of flexible packaging. FPA commissioned PTIS, LLC to conduct the study, which provided an integrated view of the benefits of flexible packaging, as well as foresight into future sustainability implications. The report features six case studies comparing flexible packaging to other forms of packaging.
Recyclable and compostable materials
Increasing public awareness of the need for sustainable production and consumption of energy and other commodities has led some manufacturers and local authorities to develop products that contain recycled content. Many other businesses have also begun to cater to this demand. Marketing studies indicate that a significant percentage of consumers place value on environmental attributes when purchasing products. Confirmation of the recycled content of a product may increase the brand’s credibility with customers, but exaggerated claims may undermine consumer confidence.
In order for the packaging industry to improve its sustainability performance, it must involve all its stakeholders, including suppliers, consumers, and end-of-life recycling infrastructure. Often, the terms compostability and biodegradability are bundled together, but there is a difference between the two. Using compostable materials in packaging is an effective way to reduce the energy and environmental footprint of a product.
While some plastics are recyclable, others are not. Many plastics are petroleum-based, and are the third-largest driver of global fossil fuel consumption. However, some plastics can be recycled, such as low-density polyethylene (LDPE), which is used in bread bags and film plastic. However, these materials are rarely recycled commercially.
Biodegradable shipping supplies
If you’re involved in the energy industry, you’ve probably heard about biodegradable shipping supplies for shipping energy-related materials. Biodegradable shipping supplies are an environmentally friendly way to protect materials and protect the environment. Many of these materials are recyclable, while others are compostable. Biodegradable shipping supplies are repurposed for many different purposes, including packaging office supplies and electronic devices. They are also sustainable, focusing on the three Rs of sustainability: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Biodegradable shipping supplies are often better for the environment than non-biodegradable packaging. For example, cornstarch-based tape has recently gained popularity for its eco-friendliness. It’s a sustainable alternative for loose-fill packaging and soda bottling. This type of packaging is even used by many national parks. Another popular biodegradable plastic is polylactic acid (PLA), which comes from agricultural waste.
Biodegradable plastics are a practical alternative to traditional plastic. Many of these materials are made from 100% recycled plastic. They offer the same functionality as petroleum-based plastics, while being environmentally friendly.
Reducing the use of petroleum-based products
For businesses interested in doing their part to help protect the environment, reducing the use of petroleum-based products is essential. This includes packaging. The majority of petroleum-based resources are used to make plastics, which are a major source of carbon emissions. To reduce their carbon footprint, businesses should use less petroleum-based products and consider other energy sources for shipping and packaging.
Many people also feel concerned about the health risks associated with petroleum-based products. These chemicals are linked to hormone disruption, impaired child development, and even cancer. There are also many environmental problems related to petroleum use, such as the destruction of rainforests and the release of oil spills. Plastics also contribute to the growing problem of solid waste and are resistant to biodegradation.