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SUSTAINABLE PACKAGINGVIDEO ON THE TOPIC: 29 CARDBOARD BOXES CRAFTS
The strongest trends in the packaging industry in all revolve around circular economy. China and now India are closing their doors to waste, environmental groups are lobbying to stop plastic pollution in the oceans and the EU continues to strengthen its resource protectionism.
Its simple and easy-to-love code relies on the same three words that defined the environmental movement in the 80s and 90s: reduce, reuse, recycle. However, now the EU is passing regulations faster than usual, including regulations to increase recycling rates and recycled content and laws to reduce single-use plastics.
As a result, manufacturers are rushing to reach their own quotas and targets, scrambling to solve a puzzle whose edges are still ill-defined. Here we want to provide our views on current trends to draw attention to the potential shortcomings of each and offer suggestions for tackling them.
More recycling is, of course, a great development. The question is how to enable a net positive effect on the environment and the economy. In order to be recycled, post-consumer packaging has to fulfill a long list of requirements e. Manufacturers trying to fulfill those requirements may have to use more material and energy when they produce the packaging than they have done up until now.
Additionally, just because a packaging product is designed for recycling today, does not automatically mean that it will be recycled. And even if it is recycled, the environmental footprint may not be improved. Most recycling technologies currently in use, require a lot of energy and the quality of the recovered material is lower than virgin material. Hence, the sustainable packaging design often has a less-than-desirable net impact on the environment. But first we need to ensure recyclability equals recycling, preferably in a closed-loop system.
Our suggestion: Make your recyclable designs comprehensive by keeping the recycling infrastructure in mind. Regulators should match recycling quotas e. While recyclers are springing up all over the place with new technologies, the key issues to solve are 1 volume and 2 quality—we are a long way from where we need to be.
They dispose of superfluous waste in endless landfills, where part of it ends up as ocean plastic, or they burn it illegally in the open air, releasing noxious fumes over local settlements. While there is a large volume of waste produced, recycling infrastructure remains very selective of the kind of waste it accepts.
Recycling technologies that have moved beyond the testing phase can only work with waste that fulfills a long list of criteria sortability, cleanliness, labelling, coloration, etc. So why do products designed for recycling still fail to be recycled? The simple answer is because the infrastructure does not yet exist to handle the volume we produce, so our recyclable waste is exported to Southeast Asia.
On the other hand, infrastructure will only expand to handle the large volume if there are sufficient volumes of high-quality waste that can be recycled e. Therefore, our recycling challenge is a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg problem.
This is where legislation can break the deadlock. The current legislation in and influenced by the EU, however, has only taken care of one end of the value chain—recyclability.
Unless recycling itself is incentivized and regulated, the mismatch will continue to result in detrimental environmental outcomes. Reuse is more difficult to envision than recycling given our current mindset. It requires us to move away from the way we currently handle packaging—tearing open and throwing away or recycling. It may also necessitate more robust and sustainable packaging materials that need to withstand washing and sterilization.
It also needs to have well-built infrastructure to collect, wash, sterilize, refill and return the packaging to consumers.
It is the milkman method made anew. There have been various small-scale attempts in the past. Since the World Economic Forum in January of this year, the LOOP Initiative has made headlines with all major brands in the cosmetics and personal care and the food and retail industries.
LOOP is attractive for these industries, because it projects improvements, not only in the solitary world of circularity, but also in the broader spectrum of Life Cycle Assessment. While we anticipate these projections to come true, we also feel obliged to report the risks. As with recycling, the risk for reuse is higher if the heavier, bulkier materials designed for reuse have a worse environmental impact than their reuse compensates for.
In other words, we should never examine packaging impacts in isolation, but comprehensively, with a systems-thinking approach. A recent screening study highlighted that a current version of a reusable PET bag carries a much higher impact than its single-use alternative. So much so that you would need to use the reusable bag at least 50 times to make it more sustainable. Manufacturers should therefore ensure that reuse is realistic in the actual customer setting and that that behavior actually compensates for any added impact in the material design changes.
Manufacturers also need to calculate the additional impact of transporting, washing, sanitizing possibly even tracking and refilling those reusable containers. Our suggestion: Increasing reuse is a must-win battle for optimizing resources and drastically reducing waste.
However, companies need to use eco-design and life cycle thinking systems thinking and push for infrastructure of scale with a massive customer-base to make the transition truly environmentally sound. Another trend on the rise is the increased use of bioplastics to replace fossil-fuel-based plastics. People tend to equate bioplastics with biodegradable or compostable, but they are not necessarily either of those. While bioplastics also known as sustainable plastic packaging are certainly interesting substitutes identical in many of their physical and technical properties to their fossil-based counterparts , using them might only shift the environmental burden by reducing the carbon footprint while increasing acidification, the water footprint or other environmental impacts.
We also have to keep in mind that introducing bioplastics may only alleviate the plastic problem, not solve it. An ingested bioplastic bag may still choke whales and other marine life. Beyond burden-shifting, we also have a supply issue. How can we grow enough raw materials required to replace fossil-fuel packaging products with bioplastics?
The only way is to increase the agricultural production of sugar cane or other feedstock. But agricultural production is already pressed to its limits, straining land areas that compete with food production. Deforestation to prepare the way for more agricultural land is certainly not a sustainable solution. Only use superfluous biomass waste that has no other application.
Paper is even more frequently suggested as a substitute for plastic packaging than bioplastics for example, paper cups and bags. However, current available data suggests that paper packaging generally requires several times more mass to fulfill the same function as its plastic counterpart. As a result, the overall environmental impact tends to be higher for paper, except in its carbon footprint.
So again, this is a case of burden shifting: reducing carbon footprint, but increasing impacts such as acidification and eutrophication. Additionally, replacing plastic with paper could likely give us a serious supply problem.
If we were to replace all plastics with paper, we must either cut down more forests or find areas for reforestation. The latter would be a double benefit, of course, but do we actually have the space? Current data suggests that we still have a net loss of forests worldwide and that we are more likely to lose possible reforestation areas to other pressing needs, such as to the expansion of cities and towns, to agriculture and to industry.
Furthermore, paper and cardboard recycling facilities are already running at top capacity and would need to expand their operations to take in more recyclable waste. And at the moment, recycled paper does not seem to significantly decrease the total environmental impact of paper, at least not based on data we have available today.
Our suggestion: Watch for new developments in the paper market, especially if weight can be reduced. Be aware of the risk of burden shifting—always think systemically and holistically.
Reducing and ultimately removing packaging from products, such as from bulk food items, is a lucrative way of minimizing the materials in circulation and ultimately the environmental impact of packaging.
However, as was so beautifully demonstrated with the now-famous example of the shrink-wrapped cucumber, we should not exclude the purpose of packaging when we assess its environmental impact. Our suggestion: Keep working to reduce packaging material within the limits allowed by its purpose. And if, as with some initiatives, you start a new product line with reduced packaging and therefore reduced product shelf-life, loudly communicate it to customers and continue to help them understand the reasoning behind the changes to make sure that the net benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
Life cycle thinking, as always, helps. Laminates and composite packaging from multiple materials constitute one of the biggest hurdles to achieving recyclability not recycling itself, for which the biggest problem is collection and infrastructure. So manufacturers have made considerable effort to shift to mono-material packaging laminates included.
The risk here is that mono-material solutions can end up decidedly heavier and bulkier than their composite alternatives and may need other additives. The reason is simple, companies use aluminum layers in laminates because of their insulative properties that—when replaced by plastics or paper—require thicker layers and, ultimately, also more mass. Our suggestion: Analyze alternatives carefully and quantitatively to ensure that for the same packaging quality, the mono-material alternative does not in fact increase overall environmental impacts or shift burdens from one environmental impact to another.
The UK has recently introduced regulations that requires increased recycled content for packaging. It is commendable that the industry is not only focusing on producing recyclable materials, but also ensuring that manufacturers can use the recycled materials for the same application that those materials were derived from. Only then will the manufacturer actualize the true meaning of circularity.
First and foremost, recycled content in packaging affects the quality of the packaging and might require an increase in the overall weight or an extra layer of protection. Secondly, the recycling of plastics is currently limited to about 5 cycles before the recyclates lose the material properties the industry relies on them for.
Obviously, this imposes a supply limitation, which is compounded by the lack of local recycling infrastructure. And we should not forget that recycling carries its own environmental burdens, because of the energy and materials required for the process. Our recommendation: Gradually and collaboratively support the growth of local recycling infrastructure and continue to include chemical recycling as an option.
For the latter, political lobbying may be needed to redefine governmental regulations on what counts as recycling. There are a lot of innovative ideas out there, such as changing the form of packaging, completely enhancing stackability, emptiability, etc. We do know that for you to meet with success in outside-the-box thinking, you need not only brain power, but courage and investment. Innovation is hard, but all the more rewarding.
Innovation is imperative to a sustainable future. While the customer is part of the change process in many of the above-mentioned initiatives, we want to emphasize this as a separate trend. Brands communicating and educating their customers on how to responsibly use and dispose of packaging are a key to the success in any and all areas.
This positive development is luckily on the rise. The only danger is if we move toward over-simplified and eventually incorrect qualitative descriptions designed to enable all customers to decipher the message, but actually mislead the public.
Our suggestion: Ensure that the environmentally solid ideals are communicated appropriately for different levels of customer curiosity. Today we have the technology to add a tiny QR code to a label and link more details that would be too much for most customers, but satisfy the curiosity of others. Focus not only on engaging unresponsive or environmentally disinterested customers, but also on shaping the opinions of those who may have dragged onto the misled bandwagon e.
But the question will arise as to how you create a more sustainable solution if at the same time the recycling quotas force you to do the opposite.
Then we create solutions that are efficient and cost effective and have the scale required for local or global implementation. By supplementing our materials and pairing our converting and automation expertise with brand engagement and design specialties, we create a higher level of success for beverage brands around the world. Our customers all want the same thing: to sell more beverages. We help you achieve this goal by going beyond materials, converting and printing to understand your brands—then build customized solutions that help you succeed. A key to this success is our ability to identify growth opportunities through primary and secondary research. Innovative packaging solutions are most effective when they are delivered quickly—giving beverage brands a distinct in-market advantage over their competitors.
VPK Packaging Group
GreenCycle processes used recyclables such as paper, cardboard packaging and film into new and — as much as possible — equivalent products. The result is an economically and ecologically viable materials cycle which conserves natural resources. Based on many years of project work for the Schwarz Group companies, GreenCycle has extensive experience and established technical and logistical knowledge of customised materials cycles. The positioning of the Schwarz Group — with its strong brands Kaufland and Lidl, numerous production plants and waste disposal and recycling experts from GreenCycle — offers unique opportunities to develop new, innovative circular products. This means that both costs and environmental impact can be reduced. The actual recycling begins in the paper mill with the pulping of the paper and cardboard bales.
Recycling for Profit: The New Green Business Frontier
And we get it. The very thought of a plastic bag - made with fossil fuels, used just once, then ending up in the Great Pacific Garbage patch, to decompose over the course of years, getting stuck in the bellies of seagull and fish - is more than enough to make you swear plastic off forever. But is plastic truly evil? Is paper more ecofriendly than plastic? Could bio-plastic be the answer to some of this? Before we began running EcoEnclose, our answers to these questions would have been yes, yes and yes.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Cardboard, Fluting Paper Box Making Plant for Waste Paper Recycling
We've made some changes to EPA. This web page contains product-specific information and data on Containers and Packaging. Looking for other information? Take a look at our two other product categories and at our materials. Still have a question about the data? Check out our Frequent Questions page. EPA defines containers and packaging as products that are assumed to be discarded the same year the products they contain are purchased. Packaging is the product used to wrap or protect goods, including food, beverages, medications and cosmetic products. Containers and packaging are used in the shipping, storage and protection of products.
What Is Green Packaging?
When you choose Packaging Corporation of America, you work with people who do the right things for each other and for our customers. We believe in utilizing the power of strong collaborative relationships, bound by the trust we have earned, to deliver innovative packaging solutions and an outstanding service experience. To stand out in the crowded marketplace, your point-of-purchase or point-of-sale strategy needs to be smart, distinctive and visible.
We develop and produce a broad range of cardboard packaging solutions, tailored to your needs. Discover all corrugated packaging. We combine a wide geographic reach with a local approach, fostering customer intimacy. Our packaging will protect your products, while taking care of the environment. Discover a broad range of sustainable, strong and protective packaging products and services adapted to your needs. All our packaging products are made of recycled fibers. All packaging products. All services we provide. The biennial awards for best flexographic printing work were presented at the Hilton hotel in Antwerp. It was a step that opened the door to the further internationalisation of VPK, today a company with 65 sites in 20 countries.
Containers and Packaging: Product-Specific Data
The strongest trends in the packaging industry in all revolve around circular economy. China and now India are closing their doors to waste, environmental groups are lobbying to stop plastic pollution in the oceans and the EU continues to strengthen its resource protectionism. Its simple and easy-to-love code relies on the same three words that defined the environmental movement in the 80s and 90s: reduce, reuse, recycle. However, now the EU is passing regulations faster than usual, including regulations to increase recycling rates and recycled content and laws to reduce single-use plastics. As a result, manufacturers are rushing to reach their own quotas and targets, scrambling to solve a puzzle whose edges are still ill-defined. Here we want to provide our views on current trends to draw attention to the potential shortcomings of each and offer suggestions for tackling them. More recycling is, of course, a great development. The question is how to enable a net positive effect on the environment and the economy.
visy. For a Better World
But when it comes to consumer and business demand for the products made from these materials, the economics of recycling falls apart. Few people realize that their local curbside collection program is only the beginning of a recycling loop. At present, the cost of collecting and processing recyclable materials far outweighs their value as a commodity that can be sold back to industry. Unless consumers buy recycled products, the markets for the material they put out at the curb or into their office white-paper bin will remain depressed. However, precisely because of this market uncertainty, companies can turn building demand for recycled products into a competitive advantage. In the s, those companies that act quickly will exploit new product niches and manufacturing technologies. Farsighted players have already found profitable openings.
All rights reserved. Around tables strewn with Exacto knives, bowls, cutting boards, tape, funnels, and bags of hemp powder, mushroom parts, and sugar, a dozen graduate students from the packaging and industrial-design departments at Pratt Institute , in Brooklyn, New York, brainstormed.
The Visy name is synonymous with quality packaging in Australia, foremost for our experience and expertise in the area of various types of cardboard packaging. Since then, our commitment to innovation and excellence and a specialised sales team who go above and beyond, places us at the cutting edge of our industry. We have a stellar reputation and the capacity to create solutions for our customers, no matter what the challenge, across a wide array of packaging types. Visy corrugated cardboard packaging is made from recycled fibre and kraft paper and as solutions providers, we are adaptable and able to service every market segment and need.
Sonoco is a global packaging solutions leader, committed to improving the lives of our customers, our teammates and our communities. When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Packages come in all kinds of compostable, biodegradable, natural and cruelty-free designs. Trends in eco-friendly design no longer stop at the recycling bin, either.