As the environment continues to deteriorate, businesses are being compelled to change their ways of working. Eco-friendly campaigns, which were once a unique activity, are now becoming a regular practice in order to save our suffering planet. It’s a shared goal, but is every company contributing?
Companies selling products utilize packaging to guarantee that the product looks good and is safe. Over the years, a variety of materials have been used for this, from paper to plastic.
However, the vast quantity of items combined with the Earth’s deteriorating status necessitates the use of sustainable packaging materials.
What is Sustainable Packaging?
Simply put, sustainable packaging focuses on the particular packaging of a product and the use of materials that have a lower ecological footprint and environmental impact. This concept relies heavily on reducing packaging material and minimizing waste. For example, major corporations such as those in the Smartphone industry lowered the size of phone packaging in order to reduce the amount of packaging material used.
Why the Need for Sustainable Packaging?
Different products require different types of packaging depending on the nature of the product and its intended user.
Few businesses rely on many layers of packaging to assure the safety of their products. Even though this may not appear to be unsustainable on principle, the requirement for more packaging material pushes more output and quicker resource depletion.
The more the amount of packaging material, the more trash. Material waste is generated in significant amounts by multi-layered packaging processes. Even if just one layer of packaging is used, poor packaging materials and practices can contribute to overall production waste.
Another issue is product waste as a result of low-quality packaging. This sort of packaging becomes scuffed and ripped, reducing the shelf appeal of a product.
The Challenges of Sustainable Packaging
The transition to sustainable packaging is not a walk in the park. Many businesses’ efforts to go sustainable have been hindered by issues such as cost and convenience.
Sustainability is, in and of itself, our generation’s greatest challenge. Our dependency on fossil fuels and single-use plastics has had a detrimental effect, and now is the time to act decisively. People have reacted by exerting pressure on governments and businesses, and we are now witnessing historic changes.
1. High Costs
Sustainable packaging is, unsurprisingly, more expensive than traditional packaging at the moment. This is because of the materials utilized and how they are sourced (both virgin and used resources), as well as the less-established supply networks, production methods, and economies of scale.
2. Waste Management
Various nations — and even towns within the same country – handle waste in different ways. As a result of the disparate infrastructure and methods utilized to handle packaging waste, there are discrepancies. Infrastructure, on the other hand, is possibly the most critical aspect to do correctly.
If we are to realize the benefits of converting to reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable packaging, we must ensure that these materials are successfully maintained throughout their lives and beyond. The circular economy cannot be built without the assistance of infrastructure for collection, processing, and conversion.
3. Optimizing Material Performance for Product Protection
When it comes to packaging, sustainable materials must function as well as non-sustainable alternatives. This includes issues such as food waste and/or product damage, in order to achieve and maintain consumer demands. The role of custom product packaging is to safeguard the contents within, thus there can’t be any compromises.
Transitioning to Sustainable Packaging: Overcoming the Challenges
The packaging business, as well as the industries it serves, has a significant opportunity to lessen the environmental effect of its activities. However, transitioning to sustainable alternatives isn’t as straightforward as it seems. There are trade-offs to consider, and when attempting to make a product more sustainable, the entire lifespan of the product and its packaging must be considered.