Biodegradable food packaging
One of the biggest culprits when it comes to an industry’s impact is packaging materials and accessories. The cradle-to-cradle concept needs to take into account the shipping of a product from the producer, through the retailer, and onto the consumer — a process that often involves significant quantities of expensive packaging materials. This has led to a wave of innovative new eco-friendly alternatives to traditional packaging materials. From recyclable plastics to biodegradable containers, there is seemingly no end to the options available to the environmentally-conscious business. Here are a few your business can consider:
1. BIODEGRADABLE PACKAGING PEANUTS
New York has recently reinstated a ban on Styrofoam, the light, airy material used for takeaway cartons and loose-fill packaging. It follows a string of other U.S. cities in banning the material, otherwise known as EPS (expanded polystyrene foam). EPS is neither biodegradable nor is it economically recyclable, often finding its way into waterways where it can have adverse effects on marine life.
Styrofoam has been a standard in loose-fill packaging for fragile or otherwise sensitive items, helping to prevent movement and cushion against shocks. For businesses looking for the closest thing to this packaging classic, biodegradable air peanuts are now available to replace them. These work in the same way as their Styrofoam brethren, but they do not linger for eternity polluting the environment. They are also less expensive.
2. CORNSTARCH PACKAGING
Cornstarch is an organic material that has made in-roads into the eco-friendly packaging industry. Derived from the corn or maize plant, it has plastic-like properties, which can be used in many contexts that have traditionally relied upon plastics. From bottles to molded forms and loose-fill packaging, cornstarch packaging adds many additional uses to this very American crop.
While a more environmentally sustainable alternative to petroleum-based packaging, cornstarch is not without its problems. As it is derived from the grains of corn, it effectively competes with the human and animal food supply, possibly raising the price of one of our dietary staples. It’s best to weigh both the pros and cons of this option when considering it for packaging needs.
3. ECO-FRIENDLY PLASTIC AND RECYCLED PLASTICS
There is no getting around it -some shipping needs require a sturdy and reliable material that isn’t going to break and can support heavy loads. While many of the alternatives based upon organic raw materials can be great for cushioning or filler, there are still times when only plastic will do. There is no need to cut back on your eco-credentials in these cases, however, as many plastic shipping materials and tools are now available made from 100 percent recycled plastic. From drums, spill trays, and spill control pallets, you can choose eco-friendly shipping materials for all your shipping needs.THE CHANGING TIDE OF PACKAGING
With cities throughout the U.S. and around the world banning specific materials derived from fossil fuels, it seems the tide is beginning to turn on plastics. With so many eco-friendly alternatives on the market at competitive prices, more businesses are recognizing the opportunities in making the switch. Eco-friendly is becoming mainstream, and smart business owners throughout the country are making the change today to ensure they are ahead of the game tomorrow.
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