Product wrappers are some of the biggest pollutants on Earth. Thousands of tons of rubbish (plastic bottles, bags, and wrappers) pollute seas and oceans. Landfills occupy hundreds of hectares of soil. Thus, pollution with packing materials is a scourge of the modern world. So, it’s high time to think about the way to keep it safe from garbage.
Here’s why eco-friendliness is the current trend in the modern wrapping industry. Manufacturers implement more and more means to turn eco-friendly and take care of the environment. Packages are recycled; biodegradable components are used; etc. This movement leads to the reduction of waste and increased customer loyalty.
The modern industry offers several types of wrappers for goods. Flexible packaging comes as one of the most sustainable solutions for modern processors. Below, let’s highlight the key arguments in favor of this option and compare them with other types of wrappers.
Sustainable Green Packaging VS Alternatives
To begin with, let’s define the “green packing” term. It is a direction in the modern manufacturing industry aimed at using more earth-friendly solutions for packing goods and reducing the amount of harmful waste. This strategy is achieved by implementing new technologies that allow for recycling the used covers and bags to produce further materials. This process results in the eliminated consumption of the resources and prolonged life cycles of the used packages. This measure helps reduce the harmful influence on the environment and prevent humankind from an ecological disaster.
In this regard, flexible packaging produced from plastics is the best solution. But, most manufacturers try to avoid plastic containers due to the belief that plastic pollutes the Earth. They replace flexible plastic covers with cardboard boxes, metal containers, glass bottles, etc. They believe that these alternatives are less harmful than plastic containers. However, they are wrong.
The main concern about plastic is related to the common nightmare of the Pacific Ocean with its huge garbage patch. However, if we treat the problem more comprehensively and analyze the level of waste on Earth, we’ll find out that plastic is the most earth-friendly material if compared to glass or metal alternatives.
The truth is that flexible packaging sustainability is explained by its friendliness to recycling. Bottles and bags are collected separately for the purpose of further recycling at specialized recycling plants. Most sorts of flexible wrappers can have a second life if disposed of properly.
What is Green-Washing?
The truth is that not all manufacturers are glad to switch to eco-friendly production since it is more expensive. Many companies are not willing to spend more funds on new equipment, machinery, and technologies to turn to green production. Such companies stick to “green-washing”.
The difference between “sustainability” and “green-washing” is crucial. The latter term means the imitation of sustainable products to mislead consumers by pretending to be sustainable. It is a marketing spin; in simple words, it is cheating on customers to deserve their loyalty.
For instance, a company can change its logo or cover designs to seem earth-friendly (craft paper, green leaves, etc.), while its products contain dangerous chemicals. Thus, green-washing is a mask for dishonest manufacturers.
Benefits of Flexible Packaging for the Environment
Now, not to be ungrounded, let’s list the key reasons for flexible wrapper sustainability:
- Efficient production process. The manufacturing of eco-friendly flexible packaging requires less natural resources and energy, meaning that less waste is emitted into the environment. Modern green manufacturers use advanced technologies to improve production processes and reduce the level of negative effects on the planet.
- Reduced carbon emissions. Flexible packaging (pouches, bags, and films) is lightweight in comparison with rigid glass or metal containers, bottles, etc. It means that carriers can transport more packaging items during one journey. Thus, more pouches are transported within fewer journeys. It results in fewer carbon emissions into the air.
- Increasing recyclability. Bio-polymers, innovative chemical chains, and plant-based compounds are used to produce sustainable flexible packaging. Thus, packages can be recycled or biodegraded without causing a negative effect. For example, plastic bottles and containers are recycled; the obtained raw materials are used for the production of tires, supplementary construction materials, pipes, etc.
Modern science does not stand still. Scientists develop new sustainable ways to use packaging and reduce Earth pollution. Although the sphere has just started to implement new tools for package recycling, more eco-friendly solutions are regularly invented. The focus of modern scientists is on plant-based plastics and bio-polymers.
Flexible wrappers are treated as the greenest and the most durable form of product packing. Although such pouches are produced from plastic, modern processors learned how to recycle them and give a second life to the used packs.
Although being eco-green is popular nowadays and inspecting agencies watch for production process sustainability, not all companies tend to switch to it. The choice of eco-friendly strategy depends on their trustworthiness. Some enterprises prefer to use green-washing techniques and pretend to be earth-friendly to sell goods. But, as long as such cheaters exist, our Earth will suffer from pollution.