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In the UK, it is estimated that consumers who purchase fast food generate about 11 billion items of packaging waste each year.
Around the world, 40% of packaging is plastic which can only be used once and then end up in landfills taking a lifetime to decompose.
Traditional packaging materials have been huge contributors to global waste, with a large portion of packaging ending up in landfills. Due to the growth of online shopping, packaging waste is on the rise and companies have been slow to adapt to this.
Clothing companies and distributors have often been criticised for over packaging their products. In fact, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions through their delivery. This has led to a global understanding of the need for more sustainable ideas, including packaging solutions. Even when packaging is not overused, a lot of it is not recyclable or decomposable. Additionally, some companies have been accused of ‘greenwashing’, which is where they present the image that their company is more environmentally friendly than they are.
Due to the growth of environmentally friendly consciousness, the world and those who populate it have begun to adjust and explore more eco friendly solutions.
54% of people take sustainable packaging into consideration when selecting a product, while 83% of younger consumers stating they are willing to pay more for it. Due to this, sustainable packaging solutions have been produced, products such as: air pillow packaging, eco bubble wrap and dissolvable packaging peanuts.
Regular packing peanuts are useful when shipping products and can provide great protection, however, they are also messy and hard to dispose of. Biodegradable packaging materials such as dissolvable packing peanuts serve the exact same purpose, except they won’t end up in landfills and can be disposed of in the water. They dissolve completely away and pose no threat to the environment. Dissolvable packing peanuts, such as Voidfill packaging’s BigBio which is made from starch.
Bubble wrap is fun to pop, but unfortunately, it is no good for our planet. Eco friendly bubble wrap has been produced to correct this! Eco friendly bubble wrap is made from corrugated cardboard and can be recycled or biodegraded.
Voidfill has a few air pillow packaging options. They are particularly good for the environment as they utilise the air in the box for protection and shield the product from any potential hits or scrapes. They can also be reused for another packing.
Recycled paper packaging is fantastic. They are produced from already recycled material and can be used again and again for further product packaging. Voidfill’s EcoNutz are made from recycled paper and function the same as packing peanuts. They are carefully selected to have the exact same fibre lengths which give them shock absorbance properties. They can be used to protect food, fragile ceramics, and other products.
Pillow packaging is a speciality box that is ideal for smaller, lighter items such as gift cards and jewellery. They pop in and out of shape and resemble a carboard pillow with interlocking tabs that protect the contents. They are made from cardboard so they’re recyclable and can be used to package other things after its initial use.
Styrofoam is a packing solution used for long transits; however, it is not always recyclable. A great, natural alternative that has been produced is mushroom based packaging. Mushroom packaging is fantastic, it is a mixture of hemp fibre and mycelium. It is compostable, biodegradable, and hydrophobic.
Food packaging is one of the largest contributors to the masses of waste every year. Seaweed packaging is a unique, biodegradable packing material that is also edible! Food in seaweed packaging stays fresh for longer than in plastic packaging. Additionally, it does not form mould and keep food fresher for longer, resulting in less food waste.
Reusable shopping bags have grown in popularity over the years due to the increasing knowledge that single-use plastics are detrimental to our planet. Organic fibre has become one of the best solutions. The most popular solution of organic fabrics is cotton. It is free of GMO’s and pesticides, making it safe for farmers and consumers. Organic fabrics have also been used for wrapping Christmas presents as it cuts down on paper wrapping and can be reused repeatedly.
Plantable packing is a truly innovative biodegradable packing solution. They are usually used to hold things such as delivered plants as they’re easy to plant for outdoor gardening. It can be used for lots of other packaging as well and works via seeds embedded in the packaging. When it ends up in the ground it can produce lovely flowers or even herbs.
Banana leaves have been used in some countries for an alternative to plastic packaging. Palm leaves have also been used for plates for eco conscious food vendors. As well as leaves now creating products such as the eco.bottle. Products such as this are waterproof bottles made from recycled materials. They have been implemented to house products like shampoo, laundry detergent and other cosmetics products.
One product we may not think twice about is ink. The stickers we use on our products and the ink we use to write on them can both have negative effects on the environment. Algae ink is a sustainable ink made from algae cells and is the best type of ink to use on any recyclable or compostable packaging.
Corn mailers rival the small plastic mailers we get. Think of the small thin plastic mailers used to ship clothes. They look very similar to that, except they’re made from a bio-based polymer, making them compostable and a low impact resource!
Corn foam or green cell foam as it is also known is a sustainable packaging solution made from corn. It is certified as compostable for home or industrial facilities and can even be dissolved in the sink for safe disposal. Green cell foam combines fantastic cushioning as well as thermal insulation protection.