Things You Wished You Knew About Your Day-to-Day Packaging
The topic of sustainability and making conscious decisions to help protect our environment has been in the news and on our minds. The pandemic made it clear that the process of how our food gets from farms to tables can be improved in an eco-friendly way.
Choosing sustainable packaging is one way to start those improvements. Recent research studies show that most consumers would like to see more options for sustainable packaging regardless of cost.
Briefly, sustainable packaging has a net positive effect on the environment. Both the materials used and the life cycle of the packaging determine whether or not something is sustainable.
Concerned about how the products you use are sustainably packaged? Here are 3 informative tips to keep in mind.
Types of Sustainable Packaging
Three types of packaging are the most sustainable: compostable packaging, biodegradable packaging, and recyclable packaging.
Biodegradable packaging is made of materials designed to break down easily into natural elements at the end of their useful life. Compostable packaging is made from materials that can be broken down by microorganisms. The main difference between biodegradable and compostable packaging is that compostable products require a specific process or setting to break down, whereas biodegradable products break down naturally. Typically, compostable materials will break down faster, but only in the right conditions.
Recyclable packaging is any packaging that can be recycled. This means the recyclable materials can be repurposed into more useful resources, and there is a system to make that recycling happen. This helps ensure that these materials will end up as new products instead of trashed in landfills or oceans.
Forms of Sustainable Packaging
There are many types of packaging that can be considered sustainable. Some of these include:
Cardboard, paper, and corrugated boxes can be recycled or composted. In addition to common paper and cardboard types made from wood pulps, biodegradable packaging can be made from rice pulp or bamboo. The easy breakdown of these products often makes them the most sustainable option.
Wooden crates, pallets, and other wood products can be reused multiple times before they are recycled by being burned as fuel in a process called "energy recovery."
Glass is commonly used for beer bottles, jars for food processing, and storage containers because of its strong structure. Glass can be reused multiple times and melted down in a process known as energy recovery.
Cans and metal packaging are lighter than glass bottles and require less energy to manufacture, but both have their advantages depending on your needs. Metal packaging is recyclable in the right system. For example, aluminum cans protect food from light degradation better than glass bottles.
Certain plastics can be recycled into new plastic items or converted into oil through "chemical recycling." This helps reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.
Don’t Be Fooled By Greenwashing!
Greenwashing describes products that are advertised as environmentally friendly, when in fact they are not. Many companies will use buzzwords and phrases on their packaging to make it seem like their product is better for the environment than others.
While some products actually do have positive impacts on the environment, these terms can be misleading when used incorrectly. If you see a product with one of these words on its packaging and want more information about it, look up what makes it "green" rather than just taking the company's word for it!
Some organizations guide both companies and consumers. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) is a non-profit organization that certifies products with packaging that has been sustainably produced. The background of laws and global practices that influence sustainability can be challenging, and organizations like the SPC can help educate you on sustainable packaging.
At Golden Arrow, we believe in creating award-winning, environmentally-friendly packaging with innovative materials to form sustainable packaging for quality and care. Want to learn more about eco-friendly packaging products? Talk to an expert today!