Innovative ways of dealing with the recycling challenge are now being developed
According to the recent Flexible Packaging Market Assessment from PMMI, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, sustainability remains a top priority for consumer packaged goods companies, and it’s a major driver pushing them to consider switching to flexible packaging. Flexible packaging is a more sustainable solution for many reasons, including material efficiency, reduced package weight, improved shelf life, and a higher product-to-package ratio.
Unfortunately, these same qualities can add some challenges when considering end-of-life recycling. Snack bags and foil pouches are difficult to separate into their substrates, which limits recycling options. One way to address that problem is using plant-based materials, a relatively recent innovation that can greatly improve the sustainability profile of flexible packaging.
PMMI has also published a white paper called Packaging Sustainability: A Changing Landscape, which says that food manufacturers are leading the way with retrofitting their packaging machines to move toward plant-based packaging materials. The white paper suggests a few key questions to remember when considering a change like this:
- Does the new material run fast?
- Will the new material limit machine flexibility?
- What machine modifications might be needed to accommodate new materials?
Some amazing advancements are being made outside the world of food packaging, too. One interesting twist is plant-able packages, which are made from compostable materials with embedded seeds. Consumers can plant these packages in their garden after use. Some other alternatives are fully compostable flexible films made of potato starch, or mushroom-based packaging as an alternative to polystyrene.
When plant-based inks are incorporated, it improves the overall sustainability of the packaging even further. These compostable alternatives are unfortunately not suitable for most consumer brand food packaging, particularly items that are subjected to heat, as they can start to break down.
Read more about these developments in sustainable flexible packaging on PackagingStrategies.com. You’ll find the article here.
AMGRAPH is a leading provider of environmentally friendly flexible packaging, and we are working with research and development teams every day to incorporate exciting new technologies that improve sustainability. We’re committed to manufacturing packaging that meets high environmental standards in every phase of its life cycle. If you feel the same way, work with us! We’ll help you develop earth-friendly packages you’ll be proud of.