The purpose of product packaging is to effectively contain and protect whatever is in it. A lot of the issues associated with today’s packaging come from convenience. This is especially true as it relates to disposable items and food. The majority of packaging today utilises polyethene which is a type of plastic. This plastic comes in different types.
This is a type of plastic that is routinely used to make bottles for drinks. It’s typically regarded as the most common and most recycled of all the different types of plastics out there.
This is the plastic that is usually used to make much more durable packaging for heavier items. This can include shampoos, motor oils, and even laundry detergent.
This is the type of plastic that is not commonly recycled. You will generally find this plastic on clothes you purchase whether it be the poly bags or what the bags are delivered in.
Not only is plastic convenient, but many assume that it’s automatically recyclable. If you are one of them, you are completely right. Plastic is recyclable. However, that doesn’t mean it’s actively being recycled by everyone. 70% of plastics that are recyclable end up in the ocean or landfills in Europe alone.
Another major problem associated with non-eco-friendly packaging has to do with the manufacturing process that’s used. A lot of plastic is created by refining crude oil. Not only that, but the entire degradation process is equally bad for the environment. Plastic is a material that degrades over a lengthy period. It can take hundreds of years for it to degrade completely. Over this significant period, it can release toxic chemicals like bisphenol A, which can be dangerous and harmful to animals in their natural habitat.
You may be thinking, “Do cardboard and paper have these same issues?” The answer to this is quite complex. While they are natural and recyclable, they aren’t necessarily eco-friendly either. As much as 40% of all the globally traded wood is utilised for the paper and pulp industry. This combines a total of 7.5 million hectares of forest.
This is why there is such a need for truly Eco-friendly packaging. This is where the optimal alternative comes into play.
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What exactly is Eco-friendly packaging?
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition has come up with a variety of rules that must be followed for packaging to be labelled as sustainable or Environmentally-friendly. Here are some of them.
- The packaging must be safe, healthy, and beneficial throughout its entire lifecycle.
- The packaging needs to meet the market criteria for not only cost but also performance.
- The packaging needs to be manufactured, sourced, moved, and recycled utilizing renewable energy.
- It must optimise the use of recycled source materials.
- It needs to be made out of non-toxic materials and materials that remain non-toxic throughout its life cycle.
- It needs to be designed in a way that optimises energy and materials.
- It needs to be recoverable and utilised in industrial closed-loop cycles.
Effectively, the packaging needs to be made entirely out of Eco-friendly materials and it needs to be recyclable or made out of biodegradable materials.
The Many Benefits Of Switching To Environmentally Friendly Packaging:
It Can Reduce Carbon Footprint
One of the main benefits that can be gained from eco-friendly packaging has to do with your carbon footprint. The carbon footprint of your packaging is going to be significantly reduced when you make the switch. When packaging is made out of eco-friendly materials, it can help you make your business carbon-neutral.
When product packaging is made out of completely natural materials, it’s going to degrade properly. Plastic is not a biodegradable material. This can cause a lot of issues with the environment, to say the least. It can release harmful chemicals throughout its degradation process, which can take upwards of hundreds of years to complete. When you opt for eco-friendly packaging, you eliminate all of this.
It’s Easy To Dispose
The majority of businesses within the UK have specific places you can go to get rid of eco-friendly packaging. These places are easy to use, assuming you separate your disposables properly.
No Release Of Harmful Toxins
You don’t have to worry about being responsible for the release of harmful toxins into the environment. Plastic not only releases harmful chemicals but it’s also manufactured using non-sustainable petrochemicals like crude oil, which further harms the environment.