5 Packaging Alternatives to Consider On Earth Day
The packaging industry has taken monumental strides in recent years to improve its environmental impact. But, there's always room for improvement. With today being Earth Day, it's an especially good time to take a look at the different options out there for the environmentally conscious company.
Composted materials can be used as nutrients for plants. Recycled paper and material production requires less energy and raw resources, while also preventing reusable material from unnecessarily entering a landfill.
Check out some of these innovative products in development. Some might seem like they're straight out of a science fiction novel and some can be put in use today.
1. Compostable Films, Labels and More
There are thousands of packaging materials, including films, resins, coatings and sheet roll stock, certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). In an effort to make its packaging more sustainable, Wolfgang Puck Coffee made use of these materials by creating a "zero-waste single serve coffee pod" that makes use of a BPI certified 100% compostable packaging film, meaning that the package and all of its contents can be tossed directly into a consumer's composting bin.
2. Biodegradable Possibilities
Dezeen Magazine reported in March that Iceland Academy of the Arts student Ari Jónsson recently used red algae powder, or agar, combined with water to create a biodegradable water bottle that will automatically begin to decompose when it is emptied of the water that it contains. The bottle can even be ingested when the water is finished. Paired with a compostable label and film, this product could be a game-changer in the packaging world. Biodegradable bottles aren't the only use for agar. A Japanese company known as AMAM recently won the Lexus Design Award for experimenting with the eco-friendly plastic alternative to use in packaging and shipping. According to Quartz, the team was able to successfully and safely ship a glass bottle of perfume from Japan to Italy with agar used in place of traditional cushioning materials.
3. Recyclable UV Coating
In the April issue of packagePRINTING we wrote about Curtis Packaging, a folding carton company taking impressive steps to become the "pioneer of packaging sustainability." The company implements a high-gloss UV coating called Curt Coat that simulates an acetate high-gloss lamination, but is easier to recycle than traditional options.
4. Recycled Substrates
More companies are joining the recycled material movement, including GPA and ClubStak, two companies that recently released packaging materials made from 100% recycled materials. GPA's Ultra Digital and Ultra Print recycled brown kraft board come in a variety of calipers and are printable on both sides. The carton from ClubStak is made from 100% coated recycled paperboard, which can be affixed with handles, reclosable options and spouts.
5. Renewable Alternatives
Nature World News is reporting on a newly developed all natural and biodegradable alternative to Styrofoam. Ecovative created a technology, called Myco Foam, which uses mushroom roots and waste to create a Styrofoam-like material that will decompose by itself when exposed to sunlight and microorganisms.