The Labor Day holiday in the United States marked the unofficial end of summer. An article from Forbes on sustainable packaging, shown below, starts off by talking about the summer barbecue season. Over the course of the summer, whether you ate food that was grilled, sautéed, roasted, baked, fried, boiled (ew), or raw… chances are it arrived in some type of packaging.
Contributing to 92 percent of retail packaging volume, or 3.4 trillion units, food and beverage packaging often ends up in the crosshairs of consumers and brand-owners looking to improve their environmental footprint. There’s a long list of grocery outlets in the article that are working to remove packaging from certain food items completely. Across a gamut of desirability, depicted in the article from least to most, waste prevention is seen as more desirable than waste recovery, which makes sense — you’d rather eliminate a threat to environmental impact upfront than deal with waste later.
While there’s a lot that can still be done to make packaging more sustainable, it can also be part of the solution. That could mean packaging that helps food stay fresher, enables longer shelf-life and cuts down on food waste — which, incidentally, is a massive problem: grocery stores are responsible for 10 percent of all food waste in the US, which totals 133 billion pounds of food per year. A world without packaging is not possible in all areas, but we can support waste recovery efforts and greater circularity by making substrates more readily repulpable, recyclable or both. Through the development of products based on renewable resources or offset by renewable hydrocarbons, we can lessen the environmental footprint generated by the package.
From the production of the substrate to the formulation of the inks or coatings used on it, we can provide the package with strength — and a conscience. That’s the power of sustainable packaging.
The Power Of Sustainable Packaging
The summer barbecue season is here. And while you may be stressed about finding the right meat to grill, making sure the fires are crisp and the salad is fresh, there's something else to be stressed about: the packaging the food came in.
While packaging is used to protect your meat, fries and salad its volume sales contributes to unsustainable use of natural resources and environmental waste. Flexible packaging, rigid plastics, metal, glass, paper-based containers, liquid cartons and other packaging added up to a staggering 3.4 trillion units of global retail packaging in 2016. The entire food and beverage sphere accounted for 92 per cent of retail packaging volume in the very same year.