Why we must change the food packaging in the future?
Most food packaging is single-use only and cannot be recycled. Instead, packaging is discarded, and it frequently pollutes our rivers. Because so much food packaging (particularly plastic) has wound up in rivers, the United Nations has designated ocean plastic pollution a “planetary crisis.” This is an issue not only for humans, but for all aquatic life. Food packaging also has significant environmental impacts, such as on our air and soil.
Recently, more and more legal changes in many countries to reduce food packaging impacts. There are options for choosing packaging that is less hazardous to animals, people, and the environment.
How to reduce environmental impacts of food packaging?
Reducing, reusing, recycling and compostable materials are the key principles of waste management, and they apply to the food packaging industry as well. These are the main factors of upcoming developments in food packaging, mainly due to expected legal changes in this area as well as consumer desire for sustainability and circularity.
The trends of food packaging to become more sustainable
1. Optimized food packaging
One of global trends in food packaging industry is the optimization of packaging. Optimization in this context refers to making packaging better or more efficient in some way, such as reducing the amount of packing or making it thinner/lighter. For example, utilizing less packing material is such as less interior filler or plastic wrap, smaller product labels.
When manufacturers are unable to use bio plastics or similar materials, optimizing packaging instead (or in conjunction with more eco-friendly materials) can be a cost-effective strategy to minimize your package’s carbon footprint while also saving expenses.
Advantages of food packaging weight reducing:
- Reduce your carbon footprint
- Reduce the cost of packaging by using less of it
- Reduce logistical expenses by lowering weight
Disadvantages of food packaging weight reducing:
- When lowering weight, there is generally a trade-off to be made, such as package durability.
- Certain industries’ regulations can inhibit packaging innovation.
Picture source: https://www.iic-ag.com/packaging/products/sustainable-packaging/
Reusable food packaging
Reusable packaging is defined as packaging that is used more than once, most typically for the purpose of carrying items. It is preferably collapsible or nestable and is built for longevity, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and ease of repair. All of these traits make it simple to return to the original user, who can use it repeatedly.
Reusable packaging for small enterprises may include industrial-size containers such as drums or smaller, consumer-size items such as kegs or plastic bottles. Reusable packaging can be opportunistic for customers, such as reusing cardboard boxes, water jugs, or glass bottles.
Popular brands are using reusable packaging designs.
– Coffee mugs made of stainless steel with silicone covers
– Robust plastic takeaway food containers
– Glass jars with metal or plastic lids – bonus points if the label is readily removed.
– Containers made of silicone with plastic covers
Advantages of reusable food packaging
- Economic benefits: Reusable packaging can help businesses save on packaging purchase and disposal costs. Cost-saving storage and transportation efficiencies are achieved because of reusable containers’ superior strength for stacking when full and through a collapsible or nestable design.
- Sustainable benefits: Better product protection in reusable packaging also aids sustainability through reduction of damage and the investment of resources required to repair or replace unsaleable goods.
Disadvantages of reusable food packaging
Reusable packaging is difficult to justify in cases when the cost of returning containers is too expensive due to vast distance, low volume, or both. Pallet and container theft is another issue to be concerned about, however a deposit system can assist prevent losses.
Recyclable food packaging
Many individuals believe recyclable packaging to be superior to biodegradable but lesser to compostable in the hierarchy of eco-friendly food packaging solutions (where composting facilities are available). This is because they can be converted back into basic materials and reused, whereas biodegradable plastic just degrades – thus everything invested in its creation is completely wasted when it cannot be reused.
Some types of recyclable food packaging materials:
- Paper: almost they are recycled after using
- Aluminum: Although aluminum is often thought to be simpler to recycle than glass, it is safer for the environment to produce new glass rather than new aluminum. So, if you can obtain pre-recycled aluminum, that’s fantastic (it can be recycled indefinitely)
- Glass: Glass is also a wonderful recyclable option because it can be reused endlessly. However, recycling facilities for glass are not as prevalent as for other items, so you must consider the recycling plants accessible in your sales locations before committing to glass packaging. It’s also heavier to transport, which increases overall fuel use.
- Plastic ( kind of plastic that can be recycled): most plastic can only be recycled a few times before losing too much of its quality.
Compostable food packaging
Compostable food packaging is created, disposed of, and degrades in a more environmentally friendly manner than plastic. It is made of plant-based, recycled components and, when disposed of properly, may return to the ground swiftly and safe as soil.
Compostable packaging has significant environmental advantages since it uses less carbon to make, decreases trash sent to landfills, and supplies the soil with life-promoting nutrients.
There are several forms of compostable food packaging available. This implies that compostable food containers are available for almost every type of food and for almost any occasion. Sugarcane and corn starch are two examples of compostable materials. These materials breakdown entirely, leaving little in the form of minerals or other things behind.
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