Product packaging has become a way of life. Gone are the days of individual farming families supplying their own food and making their own clothes. Today rural and urban residents alike rely on food items, beverages, cosmetics, medications, and luxury items that are packaged for retail use.
Unfortunately, this incredible reliance on packaging creates environmental issues. The natural resources harnessed to make the packaging and provide energy to factories, in addition to the waste generated from discarded packaging, pollutes and clogs the Earth. European packaging experts have come together to develop innovative packaging systems that are considerably more sustainable for long-term use and recycling.
It may sound simple, but one company has introduced beverage cartons that fold easily at the bottom and sides, just like a paper bag, to minimize space in the recycling bin and reduce the food waste inside the carton.
The company Huhtamakai recently developed a bio-based molded fiber egg tray. Composed of 50% grass fiber, this type of tray utilizes a widely available resource to replace the plastics that are so hard on the environment. By relying on grass, packagers can also minimize the strain on the forest production needed to attain paper products. Even better, the fibers are taken from grass that is grown without any fertilizers or chemicals! This protects wildlife, provides livestock with a place to graze, and reduces strain on the environment.
Potatoes Are More Than Food
Along the same lines as grass fiber, another company is replacing petroleum-based trays with potato-starch. In addition to being more sustainable, these packages are also proving to provide sharper definition and tighter formation than PET trays. What’s more, these potato-starch based trays can be recycled in paper streams, so there is no end to their usefulness.
With innovation like this, the environment may not be in so much trouble after all.