The packaging industry is one of the biggest contributors of pollution on the planet. Most of the materials currently being utilized for packaging have a long-lasting negative impact on various ecosystems. A recent study noted that the packaging industry causes air, water, and soil pollution on a massive scale.
In order to reduce the threat caused by this industry in recent times, we need to explore eco-friendly packaging and sustainable packaging materials that can be utilized by all businesses.
Biodegradable packaging peanuts are being seen as the big alternative to styrofoam — a material that’s notoriously dangerous for the environment. With many cities such as New York imposing bans of styrofoam, biodegradable packaging peanuts are ready to step up and take over.
They are known to work in the same way as styrofoam, offering a soft and airy cushion to protect delicate objects during transit. The major benefit with this eco-friendly material, however, is that unlike styrofoam, it is very much biodegradable and recyclable.
Bubble wrap is one of the most widely used pieces of wrapping materials on the planet, but that’s not exactly a good thing. This material is made out of plastic and is therefore hard to dispose of as the opposite of an environmentally friendly packaging item.
There are various eco-friendly packaging alternatives being developed to replace bubble wrap currently, and one of the most popular one is known as corrugated bubble wrap. This eco-friendly packaging replacement is made up of up-cycled corrugated cardboard materials. The process involves utilizing post-consumer cardboard waste material and recycling them to create corrugated bubble wrap.
The body of this material contains small cuts that help to provide a concertina-like effect in order to protect the objects being packaged. The only downside to corrugated bubble wrap is that it doesn’t allow you to pop the bubbles once you’re done unpacking, but that’s a small price to pay for our planet’s health isn’t it?
Environmentally friendly air pillows are now being developed as a stellar eco-friendly packaging alternative to bubble wrap and styrofoam packaging. These pillows are available in a wide range of sizes and are useful to fill boxes in order to offer cushioning to products.
These are essentially miniature bags that can be inflated in order to provide cushioning, and are mostly filled with air. Thanks to this unique invention, it helps to greatly cut down the volume of plastic being utilized to produce packaging materials.
Additionally, these eco-friendly packaging air pillows can also be recycled and reused, and they are entirely biodegradable as well. If you’re looking to pick up these air pillows, make sure to find versions that are made entirely out of recycled materials.
Cornstarch is quickly becoming a popular organic material around the world because of its utility in the sustainable packaging industry. The material here is derived from maize or corn plants and thus gives it plant-like properties.
Cornstarch packaging is highly versatile and can be utilized for a wide range of purposes. They can be used to make bottles, create molded forms, and even fill up sustainable packaging by offering protection.
Thanks to its natural roots, cornstarch offers an environmentally sustainable alternative to packaging solutions or products that are currently almost entirely petroleum-based.
Plastic bags are some of the most widely produced products and packaging options using the raw material of plastic. The world is slowly starting to make the switch to reusable bags, but the pace is not nearly quick enough. Supplementing this transition with the use of reusable bags made out of organic fabrics could be highly useful.
These bags can be made out of hemp, recycled cotton, palm leaves, tapioca, and numerous other materials. Most biodegradable organic fabrics tend to biodegrade in 100 days in comparison to plastic which takes 10,000 years.
Mushroom packaging, much like cornstarch packaging, is another cheap and easily available sustainable packaging alternative to petroleum-based packaging materials. It relies on the use of agricultural waste and fusion of various mushroom roots known as mycelium.
The raw material created from this mix can be pretty much molded into any shape or form necessary. This type is especially handy when creating packaging for small objects, and this material also degrades at an extremely efficient rate.
Seaweed packaging relies on the use of a gelatinous substance found in various types of seaweeds known as agar. When combined with algae, it allows for the creation of an extremely bio-friendly packaging material.
It is a relatively new player in the market, but can be vitally important in aiding the switch to naturally-created packaging materials alongside mushroom packaging and cornstarch packaging.
Paper and cardboard are some of the easily available recyclable materials on the planet. Thus it makes sense then to create packaging materials out of this abundance of recycled wealth. The only matter of concern is with regard to the manner in which the base materials for the original paper and cardboard are being sourced.
Make sure to pick up materials that have been FSC certified to ensure that the materials for the paper and cardboard have been extracted from forests that have been sustainably managed.
The hard fact remains that sometimes there is no real substitute available for plastic in certain industries. In such situations, it makes sense to make packaging materials out of recycled plastic as there is plenty of raw materials available for that. Thus revolutionizing the packaging industry involves slowly switching down the usage of actual plastic and relying more on recycled plastic materials.
Packaging is part and parcel of conducting business in the modern world. This is especially true when most of the shopping today is done online and deliveries depend on sturdy packaging options.
These alternatives can be used as a replacement to current packaging options based on your specific industry. Making the switch will allow us to continue feeding the economy without choking our planet.
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