What started as a debate on ecological modernization in the 1980s has been translated into a burgeoning trend. Thanks to the growing number of modern day businesses practicing sustainable solutions in the areas of procurement, manufacturing, distribution, storage and inventory, and moving. On the other end, sustainable packaging companies are meeting this increasing demand by offering new solutions by offering them eco friendly packaging: biodegradable paper, eco friendly plastic, recycled glass, recycled aluminum, and recycled corrugated.
Biodegradable Paper Packaging
Today’s sustainable packaging companies provide businesses with more than just biodegradable paper products. They provide creative, customized packaging design solutions to companies, thus, helping reduce carbon footprint.
For instance, a start-up company based in Australia and with branches in UK and New Zealand, has been developing the ecopack packaging solution that “combines elements of pulp paper thermo forming with a specialized printing technology to create highly original and sustainable packaging.”
Biodegradable packaging is also called compostable packaging because it breaks down during the natural recycling process into compostable components, which means that the materials are recycled naturally, no additional energy is required to break the materials down compared to recyclable packaging materials that require external energy to break down properly.
Eco-friendly Plastic Packaging
Unquestionably, plastics are the world’s most versatile material, and they are, unquestionably, the world’s most polluting material. It is made with synthetic matters that don’t belong in our world and don’t mix well with nature; ironically, it is engineered to last.
But upon the issue of ozone layer depletion and global warming starts to stir the planet, manufacturing and packaging companies has taken part to conserving the environment.
There are three environment friendly plastics: 1. Bioplastics that are made from natural materials like corn starch; 2. Biodegradable plastics made from traditional petrochemicals, which are designed to break down more quickly; and the 3. Eco-Recycled plastics, which are made from recycled plastic materials rather than raw petrochemicals.
Recycled Glass Packaging
Glass is very popular in the sustainable packaging industry because it can be recycled indefinitely yet still maintain quality and purity. Just as in paper packaging, companies that specialize in recycled glass bottles aim to make them lighter in weight to help reduce carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions.
There are several methods of producing glassware: automatic, semi- automatic and hand or mouth blown. The automatic method is used for bottles and jars because it is a fast, cost-effective method to produce large quantities of items, which are never touched until they are cooled and completed. The semi-automatic method uses both machine and manual work. The machinery forms the mold while the human hands assist in the more decorative designs of the piece. And the hand/mouth blown items are the most unique and pricey as glass artists spend time and effort fine tuning their glass work.
For instance, Couronne Company, a Texas-based (USA) wholesale glassware manufacturer and distributor specializing in the recycled glass industry has an extensive product range of glassware: cullets, glass bottles, glass jars, glass bowls, candle glass containers, glass vases…
According to Glass Packaging Institute, the trade association representing the North American glass container industry, the top glass users in the marketplace are – in random order: alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, liquor and wines, foods, cosmetics and fragrances, and pharmaceuticals.
Recycled Aluminum Packaging
Aluminum has long been a recycled medium dating back circa 1980s. It is light and strong, corrosion-resistant, durable, flexible to form, highly conductive, and is 100% recyclable – the only packaging material that can cover its cost of collection and processing into a newborn metal.
Aside from safeguarding valuable and perishable items, recycling it save natural resources. Moreover, based from European Aluminum Association, saving energy also means reducing carbon emissions: a tonne of aluminum recycled saves 95% of the greenhouse gases emitted during primary production.
Companies like an aluminum packaging recycling company in the UK, and Alcoa, the world’s leading producer of aluminum and with global locations across US, Canada, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, are just two of the companies that manufactures recycled aluminum packaging that also encourages consumers to recycle cans for a cash incentive.
Recycled Corrugated Packaging
These corrugated boxes have the image of being ‘environmentally correct’ because they can be recycled into new boxes and other products. That image is to a large extent justified, since the recycled fiber content of corrugated is generally the highest of any paper product. As of 1997 it was 66% and still climbing.
To produce recycled linerboard and recycled corrugating medium, many paperboard mills use both preconsumer and post-consumer old corrugated containers.
Preconsumer waste is corrugated materials such as off-rolls and trimmings from box plants. Post-consumer waste includes boxes that have been used for shipping and subsequently discarded. According to Discount Box Supply, one of the packaging companies based in Illinois, USA, standard corrugated boxes are fairly easy to recycle since they are printed lightly and require little or no deinking. The pulp made from old corrugated containers needs little cleaning and does not need to be bleached either.
Sustaining Sustainable Companies
Today most packaging markets are dominated by price competition, which drives low margin. Fast moving goods’ companies in particular continually demand innovation and differentiation while end-users expect quality products that are cost-effective.
At this point, being green is no longer fringe, it is mainstream. And here to stay for a long time. The environment is in such sensitive state that a small abuse could lead to a bigger catastrophe. Besides, being Green sells. It is a billion dollar business.