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Is Plastics Packaging Inherently Bad For The Environment?

By: David Roberge on April 2nd, 2015

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Is Plastics Packaging Inherently Bad For The Environment?

Packaging Materials  |  Environment  |  The Business of Packaging

Sustainability... Do we really know what's going on? 

sustainabilityearth-286273-editedWith respect to sustainability, plastics are often automatically given a snub compared to other packaging alternatives, but what is assumed relative to the environmental impact is not accurate.

A study completed in January 2014 by Franklin Associates on the impact of plastics packaging on life cycle energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions shows that plastics are leading the way for reducing these emissions and energy use when compared to other materials including glass and paperboard. The study concluded that using alternative packaging in the United States other than the plastics currently used and researched in the study (stretch, shrink, caps and beverage containers, bagging, rigid) would increase energy usage by 80 PERCENT. The impact of greenhouse gas emissions would be 130 PERCENT HIGHER! 

Beyond this study, flexible films packaging has been able to greatly reduce frieght costs, as well as the impact of shipment on the environment. For example, by trading glass jars for flexible packaging films, the reduction in shipments was greatly impacted in a positive way. Flexible is the keyword here. One skid of a product utilizing shrink over-wrap can replace 40 skids of corrugated!  What we can do to help the environment and our planet's future is to move from one form of packaging to another, more sustainable, packaging material. 

It is important to understand the true environmental impact of your packaging, "from cradle to grave". 

Do you have any stories of a positive environmental impact with your brand?

Let's here it, comment below! 

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Photo credit: photologue_np / Foter / CC BY

About David Roberge

Part of the outstanding Industrial Packaging team. I'm lucky to hang out with some of the most knowledgeable folks in the packaging industry. I feel even luckier to be able to share our knowledge with you. I love learning about and helping readers grow their brand through unique, flexible package design from the birth of the product idea, through the supply chain and to the launch and placement on the shelf or at the consumer's door.