Packaging is everywhere; in your grocery baskets, on your takeout lunches, wrapped around your deliveries and so much more. However, the amount of plastic and other non-natural materials that make up your packaging boxes or bags can cause environmental problems such as pollution. While plastics may be convenient, cheap and recyclable, they can never biodegrade and are only able to break down over time. This means that they stay in our environment for hundreds of years, polluting waterways and harming marine organisms. Apart from the negative impact plastics have on animals, they are also extremely harmful to humans since toxic chemicals like BPA and phthalates can leak from the conventional plastic packaging we use into our food and drinks.
Today, the world is producing twice as much plastic waste as two decades ago, with the majority of it ending up in landfill, being incinerated or leaking into the environment. As plastics pose so many hazards to both humans and animals, it is imperative for our society as a whole to turn to more sustainable packaging options in order to prevent the relentless growth of plastic pollution.
Eco-Friendly Packaging as an Alternative
Eco-friendly packaging are mostly biodegradable – preferably compostable –, recyclable, reusable, non-toxic, made from recycled materials or manufactured through low-impact means. For instance, glass bottles are a great way to substitute plastic bottles because they are reusable and recyclable. Though the glass manufacturing process does contribute to climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions, reusing a glass bottle can significantly reduce the number of times that the manufacturing process occurs, helping to lower the rate of plastic pollution.
As consumers become more environmentally conscious, sustainability is now not a negligible factor for businesses around the world as well. The demand for supply chain visibility has led companies everywhere to assess their carbon footprints and create the appropriate strategies to lessen their environmental impact. URBN, the umbrella group managing popular brands like Urban Outfitters, is one of the many businesses that has extended their sustainability efforts across the board to protect the environment. Apart from eliminating tissue wraps and gift boxes at retail points of sale, it has also introduced the use of 100% cotton shopping bags which are completely reusable and biodegradable.
The Advantages of Using Food-Grade and Eco-Friendly Packaging
Plastic has become ubiquitous in our lives because of its added convenience and accessibility. However, plastic packaging takes hundreds to thousands of years to decompose completely, in which utilising it will lead to grave consequences like increased energy consumption, pollution, and resource depletion. This ultimately means that plastic packaging wastes precious natural resources, disrupts ecosystems, and creates unnecessary waste. It’s important to remember that each of these problems has a direct effect on our environment, local communities, and global health.
By choosing sustainable packaging, you can become part of the solution. Below are the key benefits of switching to food-grade and eco-friendly packaging:
Reduced Carbon Footprint
To ensure sustainability, always choose materials that are renewable and recyclable, and minimise or eliminate packaging altogether as much as possible. By using eco-friendly packaging, you can avoid creating landfill waste, prevent the emission of harmful gases into the air, and stop unsafe disposal methods that cause damage to the surrounding ecosystem.
No Harmful Toxins
Though they may appear harmless, synthetic plastics can cause serious damage to our bodies and environments not just during the manufacturing process, but also during extraction, refinement, distribution, use and disposal. Especially in the case of storing food, the type of packaging used plays a crucial role in ensuring food safety. To maintain the wellbeing and health of consumers, eco-friendly packaging must be used to protect the food from contamination as well as improve its shelf life and maintain freshness.
If the packaging is sourced from all-natural materials, this means that it will be biodegradable. Since plastic is not easily biodegraded and spreads toxins over thousands of years, using sustainable packaging can reduce the releasing of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. Some eco-friendly packaging, such as bamboo straws, will even be compostable.
Towards a Better Future
With sustainability at the forefront of its business operations, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Sinar Mas strives to protect and reinvigorate the world’s most precious natural resources. Through its partnership with Charta Global to produce more sustainable foodservice packaging, Asia Pulp and Paper has made considerable efforts to accomplish their sustainability goals as documented in their Vision 2020 roadmap. While there is still much work to be done, the Indonesian pulp and paper giant is dedicated to innovating more sustainable solutions that will protect our ecosystem and keep the environment thriving for generations to come.