As you are no doubt aware plastic and, in particular, how single use plastic packaging is utilised is under intense scrutiny. The impact on the environment is a hot topic that looks set to remain in the public awareness for the foreseeable future. Consequently, how customers perceive your business’ efforts in reducing packaging is likely to become more important.
The waste hierarchy outlines the most preferred options for waste management services, reduce and conserve materials to the least preferred option, disposal. However, it is not always a straightforward decision not to use packaging. For example, a report released by WRAP estimates that it is possible to prevent 250,000 tonnes of food waste by achieving a one-day increase in product life.
Plastic is a strong, durable material that we use in a huge variety of everyday items. Items include straws and water bottles, to shopping bags and even chewing gum! This material has proved highly valuable over the years. The resultant plastic pollution is now having a detrimental effect on our planet. According to Ocean Conservancy – “Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our ocean on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate our marine environments.” All of this plastic is extremely harmful to aquatic habitats and many animals are injured or killed from ingesting plastic or becoming entangled in it.
What’s more, it is not possible to recycle the majority of plastic products and they will not biodegrade. This means that the amount of plastic in our environment is growing year on year. It is therefore time that we all make changes to reduce the amount of plastic we use. Plastic’s biggest market is packaging. Therefore, we have put together some simple eco-friendly packaging solutions to help you limit the use of plastic in your packaging operations.
One simple way to reduce the amount of plastic you use is by switching to paper packaging and bags. Paper carrier bags are fully recyclable. The bags are easy to personalise with your logan, company name, or custom message to enhance the brand experience. There are also plenty of paper packaging solutions available on the market now. These offer excellent product protection, come in a variety of colours, and are easy to recycle – making them a great packaging choice for both you and the environment!
Plastic’s purpose is to protect products during transportation and storage. Due to the packaging the product is on display more effectively before the consumer purchases and takes the products home. While the use of some plastic packaging is unavoidable, there are ways to minimise the amount of plastic used, especially when it comes to food products. A vacuum packing machine is a great cost-effective way to reduce the amount of plastic waste and help the environment. Vacuum packaging is an advanced form of packaging. It involves sealing items in a plastic film package and then removing all air from inside.
One of the main advantages of vacuum packaging is that it allows manufacturers to safely extend the shelf life of food products, particularly meat and dairy. This is because it provides a protective layer that helps keep oxygen away from food. Experts at Meat Science state that a piece of beef or pork will usually have a lifespan of 4 to 7 days, but this shelf life can easily be extended to 1 to 3 weeks with the use of vacuum packaging. Vacuum packaging can therefore minimise the amount of food waste, thus reducing the amount of plastic waste.
Air packaging solutions, like air cushions, are perfect for shipping a wide range of fragile items such as glassware and perfumes. They are cheap, easy to use and 100% recyclable, making them another eco-friendly packaging choice worth considering. What’s more, these light solutions will barely add anything to the weight of your parcels. Consequently, your transport costs will be lower and you will reduce your carbon emissions from fewer vehicle movements.
Remember to consider your packaging carefully and look for opportunities to use less material. You should also never overpack your products – remember that too much packaging can be as harmful as insufficient cushioning. Excessive or heavy packaging will also weigh more, adding to your transport and material costs. Do not forget that you should also try to reuse packaging whenever possible. This will save on costs and reduce your carbon footprint.
Automated packaging solutions will ensure that you only use as much packaging material as needed. As a consequence you will massively improve your packing speed and overall efficiency of your packaging operation. Investing in automated packaging solutions will also help to create a safer working environment for your employees. Reducing manual handling of heavy packing equipment will help to achieve safety improvements.
Switch to eco-friendly packaging today!
Plastic packaging waste in the UK is a major cause for concern, which only continues to grow. According to environmental charity, Her Planet Earth – “Over the next ten years, the amount of marine plastic waste will double and if we don’t act, in 2050 the oceans will contain more plastic waste than fish by weight.” Fortunately, it is not too late – there are plenty of cost-effective solutions to minimise plastic waste and create a more environmentally friendly packaging operation. Try some of these tips and you could save money and reduce your carbon emissions. Furthermore you will appeal more to customers by supporting sustainable practices.