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The Future of Sustainable Packaging


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In the modern society we live in, we are busier than ever before. This has led to a shift in the way we live; we consume more energy and covet convenience. The busy lives we lead have led many members of society to forget that the planet we live on does not have an infinite amount of resources. However, with worrying news stories on climate change dominating the headlines in recent years, it’s no wonder there has been a shift within society to sustainable living. Sustainability is vital to ensure a high quality of life for current and future generations.

The UK alone accumulates 10million tonnes of packaging a year. Of course, packaging is vital to the safe distribution of products, but it’s what happens to it after that matters. One noticeable shift that has developed in recent years is the rise in the development of environmentally friendly packaging. Conventional packaging has fallen out of favour with society and on trend eco packaging is on the rise. Since the introduction of the plastic bag charge in the UK, it’s been recorded by retail giant TESCO that single-use plastic bags have dropped by a jaw dropping 78%. Spurred on by the impact of the bag charge consumers are now taking a keen interest in the products they purchase and the materials they’re packaged in. To ensure brand image is being upheld, many major retailers are cottoning on the wants of the consumer and following the trend and committing to eco-friendly, recyclable and biodegradable packaging products.

Types of sustainable packaging

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Paper and cardboard have been used in packaging for hundreds of years and, just like other biodegradable products, will break down eventually when exposed to light and oxygen. Many companies these days are investing in by planet by committing to package their products in recycled paper and cardboard. Dell introduced renewable and biodegradable bamboo packaging for their smaller items and plan to package in completely sustainable materials by 2020. Using these methods and other innovative packaging concepts Dell reduced its consumption of packaging materials by 8.2 million kilos (18.2 million pounds) in 2009.

Plastic is one of the world’s most versatile products, it’s durable, elastic and water resistant nature makes it ideal for the safe packaging of countless products. Though conventional plastic packaging has wreaked havoc with nature. Discarded bags fill rivers and seas, damaging the landscape and killing animals that choke on the rejected remnants. However biodegradable plastics are now available. These materials contain additives that help them break down more quickly when exposed to sunlight and oxygen. Companies are pioneering the way with recycled forms of plastic packing too. Innocent Smoothies are just one company who pioneered the use of recycled plastic back in 2003.

Bubble wrap can now be seen in a positive light by environmentalists as innovative biodegradable versions are now available. Unlike certain biodegradable plastic bottles, there is so harmful residue left when the material is broken down. Not only does this type of packaging cause no harm to the environment, heavy duty bubble wraps are encouraged to be reused and recycled.

 

Loose fill packaging: Loose fill packaging is an important material to protect goods from damage. The chips settle around the product to ensure it cannot move if the item is shaken during shipping. Sustainable loose fill packaging is made from starch and is 100% biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Certain types of loose fill chips are also completely compostable adding to their appeal.

With the ever growing increase in eco-friendly and sustainable packaging products, it’s easier than ever for consumers to make a real difference to their carbon footprint. Small changes to daily life shift company’s goals and the more consumers demand sustainable products the more likely brands will demand them.