Sustainable retail packaging trends

Sustainable product packaging is wrapping and labels that reduce the environmental impact and ecological footprint of a company by using materials that have an increased use of life cycle inventory (LCI) and a longer life cycle assessment (LCA).  This is important because most packaging ends up in the garbage and ultimately in landfills.

There are a number of new trends that those in the industry have turned to in order to increase the amount of businesses that use a sustainable retail packaging design as well as improve the products that fall into that category.

First and foremost, companies that make sustainable packaging, as well as those that use it to protect and promote their products are looking to reduce their carbon footprint.  Therefore they are using products that emit fewer greenhouse gasses.

Another thing that many companies are doing with their custom retail packaging is use 100 percent bio or plant-based PET.  PET, or Polyethylene terephthalate, is a thermoplastic polymer resin from the polyester family.  It is usually used as a material for plastic bottles because it is recyclable.  A partially plant-based PET was created in 2009.  A 100% plant-based PET came about in 2015 and is gaining in popularity.

Along those same lines, packaging companies are searching out more bioplastics that can be used in their products.  The hindrance has been products that require heat-based sterilization or pre-serving heating.  There are a few that have risen to the challenge.  For example, there is a company in Japan that has created a plastic that includes more than 50 percent renewable feedstock content.  This plastic can withstand temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  It will not be long before other companies follow suit.

Additionally, both packaging and product companies are looking for ways to make it so that their items do not produce any waste at all.  In other words, nothing should be thrown away and end up in a landfill.  In addition to decreasing carbon footprints, improvement of recycling efforts is also good for a company’s bottom line.  This is due to the fact that it brings costs down.

Going beyond recyclability, companies are looking at other ways to reduce waste.  One that is up and coming is that of edible packaging.  However, these products have been confronted with many challenges. First and foremost is the logistical aspect.  Some companies are afraid the edible packaging is not durable enough to make it through the shipping process.  Another issue that edible materials have encountered is in marketing because some consumers believe that such packaging is unhygienic.  While mass commercialization is still a long way away, this novel concept will continue to attract media attention.

Finally, all companies, regardless of the industry can reduce the amount of paper used by not printing emails, change light bulbs to be more efficient and look into other ways to help the environment that have nothing to do with packaging.  Since these moves can also save money, it is worth looking into.

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