Connected, “smart” technology can do amazing things, but can it ever be Earth-friendly?

Brands have been looking for ways to incorporate “smart” (digitally connected) technology into their packaging for almost as long as such technology has existed. But is it possible to be both smart (in that sense) and sustainable? Our friends at Packaging Europe recently took a look at that dilemma.

They made the point that sustainable packaging can encompass a lot of things, from reusable to easier to recycle to made from compostable materials. Intelligent/connected technology elements were initially deemed not to be environmentally friendly, because things like conductive inks made of silver and copper or metal RFID tags made packages impossible to recycle. The author of the article stresses that this is changing.

His argument is that sustainability can apply to more of the product’s lifecycle than just its initial packaging, and smart technology is having a positive impact on overall lifecycles. For one thing, smart technology can be utilized to extend the shelf-life of products, reducing waste and keeping those products out of landfills.

Additionally, more and more products are looking toward reusability as a long-term strategy as opposed to strictly recyclability. We’ve talked a lot in our blog about the challenges involved in
recycling, so reusable packages with built-in smart technology can be a reasonable solution.

The article also talks about the advances in environmentally friendly smart products such as paper RFID tags and conductive inks made from recyclable materials. It’s all part of the larger
effort to incorporate groundbreaking digital technology into packages while keeping sustainability top-of-mind.

Read the full article on Packaging Europe’s website.

The packaging world is constantly evolving, with amazing new technologies being incorporated all the time. At AMGRAPH, we’ve made it a priority to stay on the cutting edge of technology
like this, and to be sure we are in a position to help our customers take advantage of it. Are you interested in incorporating smart technology into your packaging without sacrificing
sustainability? Give us a call! We’ll help you figure it out.