Eco friendly packaging is now widely used, marketed, and available in standard and custom product applications. Businesses have come to not only look at ways to develop and implement sustainable products, they need to couple them with packaging that consumers (and the environment) will both receive as ‘green.’ And, packagers must meet the packaging needs of today while developing sustainable solutions that are beneficial, safe and healthy for individuals and communities. The explosion of interest in these materials is a function of growing consumer demand for sustainable products and lower carbon footprints as well the corporate response to those attitudes. Green and sustainable items are recyclable themselves and/or are made with a rising percentage of recyclable materials and are used for a wide range of consumer products such as fast foods, processed foods and beverages, as well the electronics and healthcare industries, among others.
What Makes Packaging Environmentally Friendly?
It takes a combination of research, materials and processes to create eco friendly packaging. The result is always the same, however: Packaging has to be beneficial, safe and healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle. It has to meet market criteria for cost and performance. Its materials need to be recyclable and manageable in all probable end of life scenarios, and it needs to be physically designed to optimize materials and energy. Most plastics and practically all paper fiber, however, can today find a viable recycling stream.
Sustainable packaging comes in many forms and uses. For example, some green packaging is manufactured from paper based materials with high pre- and post-consumer waste content, and from plastic substitute materials, such as polylactic acid. Its cost is falling due to heightened demand and innovation and improvements in manufacturing processes. High content post consumer waste (PCW) paper materials are also more available and more competitively priced than in the past, mostly due to recycling and reprocessing capacity developments. Packaging manufacturers are using a multitude of solutions to deliver the host of eco friendly packaging the market increasingly demands.
Challenges For Manufacturing Eco Friendly Packaging
A company is truly focused on green packaging if it has a dedicated team that aggressively pursues the reduction of materials, the reuse of components, and the recycling of materials. Of all sustainable initiatives, materials reduction can likely offer the greatest initial impact. This process requires sound packaging specifications, the use of high yield, high performance materials on modern equipment, and potentially, a bigger budget, because these materials often cost more. The processes of containment, sorting and logistics remain a challenge to insure that the use of energy for transportation or recycling itself does not outweigh the reprocess value. The key to green in packaging includes high performance products, optimum machine efficiency, proper application and utilization, optimum machine condition, and material use monitoring systems. By combining these elements, companies create cost savings, energy savings and material reductions. Link back to the Eco Friendly Packaging page. Visit our main page for other packaging solutions.