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The New Technology in Flexible Packaging

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The ability to be reused or disposed of without causing harm to the environment after primary use is called recyclability. Nowadays, with an increasing number of landfills and industrial garbage, recyclability comes as a trend.

Due to this tendency, the production of flexible wrappers comes as the fastest-growing sector in the world economy. Based on the findings of FPA (Flexible Packaging Association), the value of the economy sector was over $50 billion in 2020 (more details). By 2023, this number is to grow further. While the industry flourishes, it has a negative impact on the environment since an increase in packaging manufacturing leads to even higher pollution of the Earth with garbage.

The awareness of the need to care for the planet, waste sorting, and proper disposal are the priorities of modern society. Yet, not everyone realizes the importance of these tasks. Millennials are superficial about caring for the planet, while they are the ones who will have to live in the world of all this garbage.

Since product wrappers take up a great portion of waste, the issue of sustainable flexible packaging development has arisen. Enterprises are forced to implement eco-friendly technologies since their performance does not meet international standards for eco-security. Plastic processing plants appear. Supporters of green movements try to attract attention to this issue.

Benefits of Sustainable Flexible Packaging

Food production businesses have started to switch to recyclable materials for covering products and storing them. This strategy has the following advantages:

  1. Reduced waste. Recycling allows for using wasted packages for the second time, which means that wasted wrappers won’t be thrown into landfills but will become raw materials for the manufacturing of other products.
  2. The economy of natural resources. The repeated use of recycled materials allows for reducing the amount of consumed recourse required for packing products. For instance, 2.5 pounds of flexible covers and 84 pounds of glass containers are required to pack 100 pounds of liquids. So, the difference is obvious. Also, fewer resources (fossil fuel and water) are required for the production process. For instance, 1.6% more water is required to produce packages for coffee from steel in comparison with flexible pouches (source).
  3. Lower shipping costs. This benefit is achieved due to the increased compactness of flexible wrappers. Such packages take less space if compared to rigid glass or metal boxes. Thus, it is possible to transport more products by using fewer vehicles, which also contributes to the reduction of carbon dioxide and eliminating the carbon footprint. Let’s see an example: 840 flexible pouches take the same storage place as 30 bottles.
  4. Improved shelf life for products. Correct storage conditions can significantly influence the product freshness. For example, unpacked bananas are stored for about 15 days. If you put fruits in perforated polyethylene bags, their shelf life will increase to 30 days. This step allows for reducing the amount of in-store waste. This trick is favorable for stores to reduce the level of losses due to product spoilage.

Flexible packages gain more and more popularity due to these factors. They stand as a convenient and sustainable alternative to commonly used wrappers.

Challenges of Implementing Sustainable Packaging

A vital challenge is set before modern society. People should find an alternative that will serve as a balance between reasonable consumption and sustainability. This issue implies finding eco-friendly materials and balancing practicality with environmental concerns.

The thing is that it is impossible to develop 100% green solutions that won’t affect our planet. On one side, if we use green materials, such as wood and others, this will quickly lead to deforestation and other harm to ecosystems since the consumption level rises quicker than the Earth can reproduce natural resources (and some of them are even non-renewable). On the other side, the use of flexible covers eliminate the need for natural resources and provides more effective product storage, shipping, and consumption.

Solutions and Recommendations for Overcoming these Challenges

The main task is to find a reasonable balance between the manufacturing of eco-friendly flexible packaging and the consumption of natural resources. Here, the best solution is to turn to specialized professional companies like Uniflex Packaging, which are well-versed in this business. The modern market offers a great selection of options for packing products. Specialized enterprises are ready to produce customizable solutions with individual designs for your brand, advise on the most effective types of wrappers for particular products, and apply all sorts of information on covers.

Besides, humans should be more responsible for sorting waste. Remember that the care for our planet starts with you. If everyone makes a small step toward eco movements, it will transform into a huge step for the entire humankind.

Consumer Impact on Sustainable Packaging Practices

Consumers can directly impact the desire of manufacturers to use flexible eco-friendly wrappers for their goods. However, everything starts with awareness of the importance of this issue. Until customers realize that wrappers damage our planet, nothing will work out.

How can consumers influence brands’ choices? They can give preference to eco-friendly packaging by studying labels on them (PET, PEPE, etc.) By choosing products packed in sustainable packages and avoiding non-eco brands, consumers will force manufacturers to switch to sustainable production.

Another way is to give preference to unpacked products and reduce the number of used plastic bags. For instance, there is no need to use bags for 1 or 2 oranges or a pair of socks, and it is possible to carry them without packing.

The prioritization of eco-friendly production technologies is not a trend; it is a necessity for future generations and our common world. The way our planet will look in the future depends on us. Thus, the flexible packaging sustainability issue determines our future. Today, people start to realize this challenge and draw the attention of humans to this problem. Although the sustainability trend has just started its path, it has a big prospect in the future.

Last Updated: May 1, 2023

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