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Finding the sweet spot in the material of packaging

Finding the sweet spot inthe material of packaging


While from a cost andsustainability perspective, the goal is to minimize packaging materials, itcannot be at the expense of product protection. Therefore, in those situationswhere it is required, protective packaging—used for void fill, cushioning,blocking, bracing, and wrapping—is essential.

Mindful of consumers’desire for greener packaging, many protective packaging suppliers haveintroduced more sustainable alternatives to traditional materials. Among themare polyethylene air cushioning and bubble wrap made from recycled content;cornstarch-based, biodegradable bagasse; 100% renewable, recyclable, andreusable paper packaging; and 100% recycled-content, renewable, and recyclablemolded pulp packaging—to name just a few.


In addition, new suppliersare introducing completely new solutions Used as an alternative to expandedpolystyrene, the material is made from bagasse, which binds agricultural wasteinto a strong, all-natural composite that offers high-performance cushioning.Restore is completely biodegradable and home-compostable.


Npulp is produced througha proprietary enzymatic process that converts the straw into pulp in a one-hourprocess. Npulp is certified repulpable, recyclable, biodegradable, andcompostable.

According to a recentstudy from PMMI – the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologiestitled, “2015 E-Commerce Market Assessment," the 55 key decision makerssurveyed agreed that green packaging is here to stay. The question is how tomake the financial and operational impact as positive as possible.


To address this challenge,PMMI reports that the industry has developed key factors and best practicesthat ultimately aim to view green packaging as a long-term investment that isbest implemented with consideration of the entire life cycle and with ample duediligence. Among the considerations suggested by the PMMI report are whether thepackaging can be rightsized, the usability of materials (e.g., does the labelstick to the secondary material, will the tape adhere), and whether greenerpackaging will provide ample, durable protection.


“Another factor is tobalance the consumer demand for green materials with the initial capitalinvestment required,” the report continues. “While there is a short-terminvestment required, the return from consumer loyalty given this trend’sincreasing popularity and demand will pay for the investment.”

In conclusion, onerespondent, a sustainability manager from a logistics company, succinctlystated, “If sustainability means using no more material than you need andpreserving the integrity of the contents, that is a cost-effective thing todo.”


Green innovation takesroot with meal-kit companies

One market that seems tohave been particularly creative in finding new eco-friendly protectivepackaging solutions is the meal-kit delivery market, which is expected to growto $10 billion by 2020, according to a study from Technomic.