Sustainable packaging solutions for green businesses
With the ever-growing customer demand and the goodwill of companies themselves, in the recent past, there has been a sharp increase amongst people to be conscious of their carbon footprint and a drive towards greener living. For customers, it means that they opt for sustainable products that have the least impact on the environment. For companies, it means producing goods with materials and processes that cut down on the emission levels and the overall carbon footprint of the business. One impactful method where companies and customers can take effective measures to reduce their carbon footprint and move towards a greener living is to choose sustainable and green packaging solutions, including tin containers, metal bottles, aluminum cans, glass jars, cardboard wrapping, and more.
In today’s era, we live in a world full of plastics packaging which contributes significantly to the global pollution crisis. The reason for such popularity of plastics is because it is durable, flexible, long-lasting and has a very low cost of production. These features make it a perfect fit for the packaging industry. However, there is an enormous hidden environmental cost around all the different kinds of plastics that we see on our grocery store shelves, take-away food boxes, disposable utensils, etc. Fortunately, customers are becoming aware of this, and momentum is developing for green packaging. A few years ago, going green and sustainability was some achievement for companies. Fast forward to the present day, doing anything green or sustainable is now becoming the new norm for doing business. Therefore, many companies are striving hard to move towards green operations for their business.
Before diving into sustainable packaging solutions, we need to understand what sustainable packaging means and why plastic is not one of them. Sustainable packaging means the material sourcing, development, and use in a way that enables recyclability and biodegradation – ensuring a decline in the pollution levels generated by the packaging material in its life cycle. In layman vocabulary, sustainable packaging is eco-friendly packaging that minimizes its environmental impact by reducing pollution, enabling safe recycling, relies on renewable energy, and uses sustainable resources.
Plastic is used for its lightweight, strong, and durable qualities. Its long life and ability to withstand harsh environment makes it a dominant choice for a variety of uses. It is produced artificially with various chemicals that are harmful and non-sustainable – one of the main ingredients used is crude oil. Now, as we all know, oil is far from being environmentally friendly. Burning fossil fuel is one of the significant sources of carbon emissions and global warming. So, plastic production itself is harmful to the environment and not sustainable. However, once the consumer discards the product, it creates more problems. Plastics are not biodegradable, and they can stay in landfills for centuries before breaking into microparticles. This creates even more problems, as the microplastics may enter our food cycle if animals mistake them for food, especially fish. So overall, although a cheap material, its environmental cost is way too much. Therefore, we should always strive to move away from plastics.
Fortunately, due to public awareness and strict regulatory laws, more and more companies are shifting towards sustainable packaging solutions. Here are few packaging materials that are sustainable and eco-friendly.
Aluminum Packaging: Metal packaging, including tin containers, metal bottles, and aluminum cans, have been gaining popularity in the recent past. Aluminum has the same characteristics as most metals, but it is packed with additional advantages as well. Unlike traditional metals, aluminum is corrosion resistant, rust-free, and it is not reactive to organic acid. Because of these features, customers prefer aluminum bottles and tin containers for their food packaging. It does not require any additional chemical coating and is completely BPA-free. Furthermore, aluminum is lightweight, making its transportation and handling much easier than other metal packaging materials.
Aluminum is not only beneficial for our health, but it is also one of the most eco-friendly materials. It has one of the least carbon footprints amongst other packaging materials and is ranked highest in the recycling chain. It takes only about 5% of the primary production energy to recycle aluminum. It is fully recyclable without any degradation in its quality and thus can be recycled repeatedly. It is estimated that almost 75% of the entire aluminum produced is still in use today; such an energy-efficient recycling process cuts on the carbon footprint and reduces energy bills for industries.
Glass Packaging: Glass has been in use in the packaging industry for centuries. Glass packaging adds an elegant and stylish touch to the product and gives it a premium look. Glass packaging is most commonly used to store fizzy drinks, leftover food in the house, and cosmetic products for daily use. Glass is a naturally occurring material that does not require any chemical treatment in its manufacturing. It is completely food-safe and BPA-free, making it a perfect choice to store and preserve consumable goods.
Glass is also recyclable, which makes it an eco-friendly and sustainable option. However, it is heavy and easy to break. Handling glass is relatively trickier as compared to handling other packaging materials. Furthermore, it is also expensive to produce; hence its usage has sharply declined in recent years. Cardboard Packaging: In the world of packaging, cardboard boxes are one of the most renowned and highly used materials. These boxes are used as an outer layer that protects the product stock inside. Cardboard is usually used to store and organize items in bulk quantity. It is easily recyclable and thus can be reused. This makes cardboard an eco-friendly and sustainable packaging option.