Being environmentally friendly and aware is something that is becoming more and more important to the vast majority of people. Packaging is one of the areas that is causing most problems, particularly when it comes to single use plastic. The more we use in this ‘throw away society’ the more problems we are creating for the planet and for future generations. Therefore, searching for sustainable packaging solutions is a good idea. Here are some examples of the kind of packaging you can use that is much better for the environment than single use plastics.
Sometimes it is the ink on packaging that is a problem rather than the packaging itself. It’s hard to find ink that will print on the materials often used for packaging that doesn’t contain BPA based chemicals, but there are moves to change this.
Inks are now being made that are BPA free, ensuring that when the packaging is disposed of, the inks don’t leach out and harm the environment. Plus, the inks that are being made are just as vibrant and in just as many colours as you would expect to see, giving you as much choice as you need if you are a business owner looking for ways to market.
Vacuum Packing is a clever way of protecting not only the goods that are packaged but the environment too. Plus, it is much more sustainable. When food is vacuum packaged, it lasts for much longer than it would otherwise do, cutting down dramatically on food waste.
Food waste is a big problem; it costs money, for one thing, and it causes problems in landfill with bacteria and germs. Plus, cutting back on how much meat, for example, we need to produce is better for the environment. Meat production is something that we are told needs to be reduced, and being able to store food for longer will mean we can cut back on the demand and thus be kinder to the environment.
There is a battle going on in this world; we are told that we need to stop using so much single use plastics, and then also told that we need to adhere to strict health and safety legislation which basically rules that single use plastics have to be used in order to keep food and other consumables safe and inline with guidelines.
Doing one is not a problem. Doing both becomes difficult.
This is where compostable single use plastics come in.
Compostable single use plastics mean that we can still keep all of our hygiene and food products safe from contamination, but that we can also dispose of the plastic packaging in a sustainable way that is good for the environment. Compostable plastics still take time to decompose – around three to six months – but compared to the non-biodegradable versions which take centuries, it has to be a better option.
One thing that may not spring to mind when you think about packaging but which actually causes a lot of problems is post bags and envelopes. The paper, of course, can be recycled, but what about the small plastic bags, or the bags that contain bubble wrap? These are a problem because they are often single use, and are disposed of as soon as they have done their job.
However, new ideas are always being thought of, and one that relates to postal bags and padded enveloped is sugarcane. One of the issues with the post is that the bags need to be strong and secure, and this is why the single use plastics started to be used more often. Sugarcane allows for the strength of a plastic since the sugarcane is made into thermoplastic resins, but is completely biodegradable. Not only that, but if the manufacturers are able to source sustainable and ethical sugarcane this will help the workers and their economy. There are clearly many reasons to use this form of packaging.
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if all of the packaging that we had to buy was easily and safely disposable? One of the ways that this fabulous idea might become a reality is through the use of edible packaging.
It sounds extremely strange, but there are steps afoot to create this, ensuring that not only is the food it surrounds perfectly safe and bacteria free, but that the packaging can become part of the meal if required. If not, it will quickly biodegrade. It works through a system of water resistant gels and is something exciting to look for in the future.