Plastics are woven into the fabric of our lives. We use them everywhere from our kitchens to hospitals. However, you may be surprised to learn that not all plastics are the same. There are a host of sustainable plastics on the market. They offer an eco-green packaging option. They come with another bonus. They can provide business owners with big savings.
The case for going green
We have the data that shows how we have contributed to global warming through greenhouse gas emissions. What’s notable is that reports on the issue have revealed that nearly half of the United States emissions are linked to the energy needed in the production, process, and transportation of food and goods.
The packaging industry has woken up in response to this, and now supplies customers with ecologically friendly packaging. Sustainable packaging options are not only healthier for the Earth; what we’re seeing is that they can have a positive impact on brands that use them. The effects can be both financial (they offer cost-effective packaging solutions) and enable the brand to share with customers their green values.
Go to the source
But, what makes a packaging material sustainable? The best place to start to figure this out is to examine where and how the materials are sourced. Then, ask these questions:
- Does the material release toxins, is it safe to be consumed (i.e., are the chemical properties inert)?
- Are clean production methods used in creating the items?
Look at the numbers
An inexpensive packaging option that’s becoming popular is lightweight polyolefin material. It’s an eco-friendly alternative to current options such as corrugated, paper or glass material. That’s because they use less energy to produce.
There are other benefits:
- Because they are so light, they also reduce a business’s freight and storage costs when compared with alternative products.
- They are easier to process
- They are strong so minimise product damage
- They are recyclable which means they are easy and cheap to dispose of after they have been used
Single-use plastic is over
We can’t ignore that single-use plastics create a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide emissions in their production process.
And then think about where they end up. We’ve all been shocked by the revelation that Plastic Island has developed in the Pacific. It’s made up of rubbish and illustrates just how badly our production habits are impacting the earth.
Using recyclable materials is the only way forward if we are going to tackle the growing problem of extreme waste volume. They are produced using more efficient methods (less energy) and don’t rely on oil and coal.
A single ton of recycled plastic saves:
- 5,774 kWh of energy
- 3 barrels of oil
- 98 million BTU’s of power
- 30 cubic yards of landfill space
What does this mean for your brand?
Unilever conducted a survey recently that asked consumers if they would choose one brand over another if they knew it was the more sustainable choice. Their results showed the one in four people would prioritise eco-friendly brands and would like to have this information presented to them on the packaging, so they are alerted to it. Over two-thirds of respondents said they enjoyed the “buzz” they got from choosing a brand that used sustainable packaging.
Many brands are choosing sustainable packaging options, but few are advertising this to customers, and Unilever says, as a result, they are losing out on potential market share.
The bottom line? Using recyclable plastic will attract new customers and build brand loyalty. Having a responsible brand image will set you apart from your competition.
What are your options?
If you are ready to end your use of toxic packaging material, it’s time to explore eco-packaging materials. Don’t be put off with the attitude that none of them can meet your unique needs. There are very flexible and versatile options such as polyolefin materials. It will offer you high-quality printability, which is an essential factor to consider for any brand. The packaging is also easy to recycle.
Polyolefin is used in the following packaging options.
- shrink film
- stretch film
- carded packaging (examples include clamshell, skin, and blister packaging).
By making a move to sustainable packaging, you will reduce costs and make a positive impact on the environment. You can start your journey by looking at your methods of packaging and setting yourself goals. By how much and by when do you want to have reduced your carbon footprint? Calculate what you are currently spending on the packaging and then explore the cost savings of eco-friendly products. Bring your marketing team on board and get them to explore the opportunities for the brand’s image when you make the switch.
Once you have the numbers and information you need you can start to plan the transition.
Guest Blogger – Phil Edwards
Phil Edwards is an Outreach Specialist for Melbourne Packaging Supplies. Our goal is as with quality comes reliability & safety. For more information about industrial packaging supplies, equipment and machinery, visit https://www.melbpack.com.au
Header photo: Andrii Yalanski – shutterstock