The Emergence of Eco-Friendly Food Packaging
Climate change is appearing increasingly frequently on the worldwide political agenda. New and innovative food packaging is being demanded more often by consumers around the globe. Plastic waste in landfill is a huge ecological problem worldwide. The use of bio degradable packaging materials is a popular marketing tactic in the FMCG sector, despite its relatively recent conception.
While some plastic packaging is recyclable by nature, there are a lot of downsides to using such materials. The fossil fuels used at recycling plants produce greenhouse gasses, which contribute to global warming. Similarly, the transport of recycling material to processing plants requires much fossil fuel consumption that also drives global warming.
It’s also worth noting that plastic is made from fossil fuels, oil and gas, mostly. These natural resources are in finite supply. There are millions of tonnes of plastic product ending up in landfill every year. It’s therefore worth considering that there are sustainable alternatives out there on the market.
Bio degradable Food Packaging
Bio degradable food packaging is the most environmentally sound way to store goods on the shelf. Materials made from recyclable paper, corn starch, wood or sugarcane will decompose naturally. This process provides nutrients to the soil they’re disposed of in. These materials are a relatively new invention and so make up a minority of the packaging used in the FMCG sector.
Some groups have taken the meaning of bio degradable material to a new level. Students at the Pratt Institute, New York, successfully created straws from agar derived from seaweed. The team complemented this with bowls made from the mycelium of mushrooms. Also, completely renewable, foldable plastic packaging ideal for use in the fast food and takeaway industry.
Challenges of Renewable Packaging
Many food producers prefer to continue using plastic materials in the use of food packaging. This is due to its relative cheapness and the existing recycling facility infrastructure. Global recycling networks exist and are competent in most cases, so these are preferable to some manufacturers.
Producing the perfect material for use in food packaging is no easy task either. In the developed world there are over 30 types of plastic that are used in food packaging design and that have recyclable properties. According to National Geographic, research and development teams are challenged by the difficulty of producing a single polynomer plastic. These difficulties include the breadth of functions the packaging needs to perform:
- Meets a range of performance requirements
- Is widely accepted by municipal recycling systems
- Is easily moulded into packaging.
We will continue to keep an eye on the sustainable packaging sector of the FMCG industry. Read our blog for more updates as they are released to ensure you can reduce your environmental footprint.
For all food packaging machinery and materials, contact Lumix. We are the nation’s leading supplier of food packaging manufacturing equipment. Check out our products page to see our full range or to place an order.