Many people are willing to invest in eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to their favorite products. Millennials, for example, are more inclined to choose products with environmentally friendly packaging, such as options made from renewable materials, over traditionally-packaged options.As packaging companies look to develop solutions that meet the needs of brands and consumers while reducing their impact on the environment, they’re looking beyond recycling as the main sustainability issue in packaging While not yet a mainstream industry practice, bio-based materials are the key ingredient in developing fully-renewable packaging options.
Derived from renewable materials such as wood fibre from trees or plastic from sugarcane, bio-based packaging materials represent a big opportunity for food and beverage companies. They look and function like their fossil-fuel counterparts with a much lighter carbon footprint. In terms of sustainability, increasing the use of renewable materials is helping preserve natural resources while contributing to an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions – objectives that are frequently associated with corporate sustainability goals.
Alternatives in action
While it can be challenging for companies to transition to bio-based substitutes, recent innovations are already pushing the boundaries of sustainability in packaging.
In an effort to reduce end-of-life waste from its products, natural personal care brand Toms of Maine experimented with biodegradable packaging made from potato starch. The company announced that it was transforming local agricultural refuse into polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable plastic resin, as a potential alternative for its mouthwash bottles and deodorant canisters.
To expand recycling options for several of its products, yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm replaced the traditional polystyrene in its YoBaby and YoKids multipacks with corn-based bioplastic, paying farmers to grow corn that has not been genetically modified.
Then there’s Tetra Pak’s own Gable Top Bio-Based, the first fully renewable Gable Top package. The combination of paperboard and sugarcane-derived plastics make it the first fully renewable carton. From a business perspective, customers can seamlessly transition to the new carton without modifying their existing filling machines – it’s good for the environment and their brand.
Green in 2016
Learn more about bio-based packaging.
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