Changes in the public’s sensitivities in relation to the planet’s health are driving companies toward transformation. Eco-friendly packaging has become one of the most important and urgent trends in the industry, which is on the look for new solutions to this issue.
What is eco-friendly packaging and why should it be used?
Eco-friendly packaging is a packaging that is considered to be less harmful to the environment. In order to be considered as green packaging, it should have a few characteristics:
- Be biodegradable or compostable.
In the former, it involves materials that can be decomposed into natural chemicals when no longer in use (such as paper or vegetable fibers). Compostable materials go one step further since, when they get decomposed through a series of chemical processes, they can become compost, which in turn enriches the soil.
- Be recyclable, reusable or be manufactured with recycled products.
- Use non-toxic materials.
- Be based on biomass or natural products.
- Have been manufactured through processes that have a low impact on the environment.
Such is the case of raw materials that have a low regeneration time, such as bamboo: while a tree needs decades to be able to provide the pulp used to manufacture paper, bamboo does this in less than three years.
Both the industry and consumers are demanding sustainable packaging materials.
The transformation process to start using eco-friendly packaging does not necessarily have to imply astronomical investments and, in the long run, it allows for cost reductions by optimizing the packaging that is necessary to guarantee the safety of the loads.
In this regard, a biodegradable packaging, or a recyclable one, offer an image of a responsible and committed company, which can increase the consumer’s trust and brand loyalty.
Moreover, everything indicates that both national governments and international organizations are heading toward the enactment of new regulations that foster a green packaging and prohibit the use of certain types of packaging, such as single-use plastics.
Recyclable packaging and eco trends for 2021
New methods, materials and trend in the packaging industry generally lean toward an environmentally-friendly packaging:
- Research is constantly unveiling new sustainable packaging materials that aim to definitively eradicate plastics. From natural monomers to bioplastics, the goal is to find an appropriate formula to avoid the use of non-renewable resources like petroleum.
- The three R’s rule is strictly applied: reduce (the amount of used materials), reuse (as much as possible, create packages that have a longer useful life) and recycle (use materials that can be easily processed or that have already been recycled).
- Alternatives are being sought to lead transportation toward green logistics. Many companies are focusing on reducing CO2 emissions during the transportation of their products. For example, electric vehicles are used for transportation and bicycles for deliveries in cities.
What sustainable packaging materials are there on the market?
Since demand has increased, there are also a myriad of new materials that allow for the production of recyclable or biodegradable packaging.
Some of the most novel and effective sustainable packaging materials are:
- Stretch film made out of non-petroleum resins.
- Envelopes made out of recycled paper and film, also capable of protecting goods.
- Eco-friendly adhesive tapes to tape packages shut.
- Reusable bags, packages or pallets, so that the client or company can find a new use for them.
- Eco-friendly solutions for the inside of the packaging, such as corrugated cardboard to divide the contents of the package, biodegradable inflatable bags to absorb shocks or dunnage made out of paper or recyclable materials.
How to turn your packaging into sustainable packaging: a few tips
Attaining an eco-friendly packaging involves a major transformation process for many companies, and requires an initial investment that can be profitable and offer great improvements and changes to the industry. To do so, a series of guidelines have to be followed:
- Aim for coherence. Consumers are increasingly demanding companies that are committed to the environment. Which is why, if you sell a product that is publicized as eco-friendly, you should also be able to offer green packaging.
- Inform your clients. If you have transformed your packages into eco-friendly packaging, let whoever buys your product that you are using a biodegradable, recyclable or reusable package. In this way, you will cement your brand image and earn the loyalty of those who are concerned with an ethical consumption.
This is particularly important for sustainable packaging materials that are not directly recognized as sustainable, because they are unknown or because they are still too novel.
- Rely on experts, so that the safety of your load is not compromised.
Any transformation processes undergone by your packages, including eco-friendly packaging, should pass certain tests, so that you can make sure that you are compliant with international standards and that your goods are safe during transportation.
At Safe Load Testing Technologies we have already assisted many companies in characterizing and testing their new packages to make them safe and environmentally-friendly, through the use of transportation testing and simulation technologies.
Our track record of two decades in the packaging industry and our commitment to the latest eco-friendly packaging trends guarantee the quality of our work.
Get in touch with us and we will tell you how we can help.