Why is it important to use biodegradable materials for packaging?

This blog post will answer the question, “why is it important to use biodegradable materials for packaging” and cover topics like the importance of biodegradable packing and frequently asked questions related to the topic.

Why is it important to use biodegradable materials for packaging?

Biodegradable packing materials are important to use because they are better for the environment and eco-friendly.

Biodegradable packaging – what is it?

Any kind of packaging that will naturally break down and degrade is considered biodegradable.

Define biodegradable:

Traditionally, the word “biodegradable” has been used extremely broadly to refer to any sustainable packaging material that will spontaneously degrade – in any environment and over an arbitrary period of time. 

The problem? By this standard, everything is biodegradable, including cellulose-based packaging and wooden boxes. The wrapping will decompose within weeks but the wood would take decades or possibly millennia to do so. 

Even some of the biodegradable packaging market today with a sustainable stamp can hurt the earth!

What kinds of packaging are biodegradable?

There are many different biodegradable packaging options, but not all of them are appropriate for packing food. The following is a list of popular and rare kinds of biodegradable packaging currently in use:

  • Hemp: Made from the cannabis plant, hemp is robust, adaptable, and extremely biodegradable. Hemp is still a costly source of bioplastics, and its polymerized form is not yet offered commercially.
  • Paper: One of the earliest and most traditional types of compostable packaging is paper. It is easily and effectively recyclable and biodegrades quickly. Paper is not suitable for many food packaging applications because it does not provide the same level of protection as other types of packaging.
  • PLA: PLA is bio-based and can be molded into packaging much like regular plastic, but it decomposes slowly, even in a commercial composter.
  • Cellulose: Plant-based packaging degrades extremely quickly and is an excellent option for short-term packaging, but it can’t offer a good barrier or shelf-life for food items and it readily discolors when stored.
  • Seaweed: Seaweed-based materials, like cellulose, are highly biodegradable and excellent for short-term packaging, but unstable & unsuitable for the packing, transport, and storage of food.

Advantages of biodegradable packaging for companies

A few advantages of biodegradable packing are listed below:

  • Free of allergens and toxins
  • Demand Less Resources
  • Reduced Manufacturing Costs
  • Less of a Footprint
  • Practical Disposal

I will now elaborate on these.

Free of allergens and toxins

Although there are currently not many possibilities for biodegradable packaging, the majority of the substances are non-toxic & allergy-free. 

Consumers who are concerned about the items they buy and the materials used in their packaging must take this into account. A company is harmed if either might be damaging.

Packaging with the environment in mind and preserving your things is essential for organizations that often send shipments, paperwork, and other crucial information via the mail. For instance, you could need to mail your vital papers. 

Receiving mail in secure, low-waste packaging may save your health from dangerous substances, benefit the environment, and provide your customers with all the information they want.

Knowing the repercussions of their purchase, an educated customer will nearly always prefer items wrapped with bioplastic over conventional alternatives. 

Business owners should be aware of the ramifications given that phthalates, a substance often found in plastic packaging, has detrimental impacts on health.

Demand Less Resources

Water use, solid waste, power use, and emissions might all be decreased with the use of biodegradable packaging. 

Naturally, this is good for the environment, but it also reduces the costs related to packing. The accumulating savings show to be well worth the transitional costs over time.

A corporation would get weight reductions compared to conventional plastic if they switched to bioplastic from their current standard packaging materials. 

According to research, plastic packaging may save weight by over 78% when compared to substitute materials. This is an important finding for company owners considering the switch.

Reduced Manufacturing Costs

The three essential R’s of sustainability are followed by the majority of biodegradable materials.

  • A company may make thinner, more durable materials that perform the same function while using fewer resources.
  • A company may reuse them by using materials that have a specific coating that increases their longevity.
  • A company may recycle them to save the expense of purchasing new materials and remove waste from landfills.

By utilizing fewer resources, recycling their inventory, and buying cheap recycled materials, a company owner that invests in biodegradable packaging may significantly save expenses. 

They will eventually see lower packaging costs as a result, allowing them to more freely devote their funds elsewhere.

Reusing packaging is proven to be not only beneficial to the environment but also a great marketing tool. Users are reusing packaging on sites like Pinterest and Instagram. 

Business owners may increase their reputation and local business by actively urging their clients to prefer ecologically friendly options. 

A nice example of a blog that concentrates on assisting DIYers in product reuse is ToolTally, which is doing well organically.

Less of a Footprint

In addition to the financial objectives they must achieve, company owners often have environmental objectives. 

Every person in top management has a duty to make sure their organization complies with strict environmental regulations, and biodegradable packaging may assist – outside of a legal context.

To reiterate a previous point, biodegradable plastics increase the attractiveness of firms that would otherwise get less attention since 70% of customers between the ages of 15 and 20 prefer to acquire products from businesses that are devoted to sustainability. Change is required to decrease emissions and boost interest.

Practical Disposal

Recyclable, compostable & biodegradable packaging facilitates disposal for the customer. 

They have more alternatives to dispose of these materials as a result, and businesses should constantly work to make their goods easy from beginning to end. This philosophy is best shown through biodegradable materials.

For instance, customers won’t have to make an exception for packaging if they choose to compost their waste. 

Similar to how customers would add any other compost-friendly material, they may compost biodegradable packaging, adding to the product’s value beyond its core purpose.

Eco-friendly packaging: what is it?

Eco-friendly packaging is sometimes referred to as sustainable or green packaging. It employs manufacturing processes to cut down on energy use and lessen its negative impact on the environment.

It is composed of recycled materials, is safe for use around people and the environment, and is simple to recycle.

You may want to be environmentally conscious yet struggle to understand what the perfect eco-friendly packaging would be. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition has established the following guidelines for sustainable packaging:

  • The resources need to be wholesome and secure for communities and individuals over their entire lifespan.
  • Renewable energy should be used to obtain, produce, transport, and recycle it.
  • Meets cost and performance standards set by the market.
  • Made using sanitary manufacturing techniques and the best standards.
  • Maximizes the usage of resources from recycled or renewable sources.
  • It is designed to maximize materials and energy use.
  • Consists of components that remain non-toxic throughout their entire life cycle
  • Successfully used and recovered in biological, industrial, or environmental closed-loop cycles

Eco-friendly packaging benefits

The benefits of eco-friendly packing are listed below:

  • Cut Back on Carbon Footprint
  • Recyclable
  • Flexibility
  • Boost Your Brand’s Image
  • Simple to Dispose of
  • No Dangerous Toxins
  • Simple to Reuse or Recycle

I will now elaborate on these.

Cut Back on Carbon Footprint

Environmental protection is the advantage of eco-friendly packaging that is most obvious. Eco-friendly packaging often uses recycled and biodegradable materials, reducing the waste of raw materials in the manufacturing process. 

Additionally, the manufacturing process is often more effective, using less valuable resources overall and lowering the environmental harm that enterprises do.

Recyclable

Green packaging not only lessens your carbon footprint but also offers good long-term consequences even after it has been used for shipment. 

These sustainable alternative materials have a minimum environmental effect since they are recyclable and biodegradable. For more information on the ban on packing peanuts, see our previous piece, “So Long Styrofoam.”

Flexibility

Sustainable packaging is incredibly adaptable and may be used in any significant business that currently employs conventional packaging, in addition to being environmentally friendly from start to finish. 

There is eco-friendly packaging available to match your green demands, whether you need to package cosmetics, medications, electronics, or car components.

Boost Your Brand’s Image

Finally, eco-friendly packaging enhances the perception of your company. Your customers will understand that you care about the environment and that you run an ethical business when they realize that you employ sustainable materials. 

Your company’s profitability and ROI will increase as a result of this better brand image.

Simple to Dispose of

In the UK and across Europe, the majority of companies and locales have specific recycling or disposal facilities or services. Recycling is now rather simple as long as you separate your disposables so they may be recycled correctly.

No Dangerous Toxins

The extraction, refining, distribution, use, and disposal of non-sustainable petrochemical resources, such as crude oil, which is used to manufacture the majority of plastic, are very detrimental to the environment. 

Over the course of its use, eco-friendly packaging has none of these problems. Harmful chemicals like those generated by plastic are not present since it biodegrades.

Simple to Reuse or Recycle

The capacity of packaging to be recycled or reused contributes to its eco-friendliness. Promoting the reuse of packaging extends its useful life, minimizing the demand for new materials and the carbon footprint of the package. 

It should be possible to reuse the packaging for things like further packing, storage, and even arts and crafts if it is of high enough quality.

What’s Wrong with Regular Packaging, Anyway?

Packaging is primarily used to hold and safeguard items. Nowadays, convenience is frequently the driving factor behind the packaging, particularly when it comes to food and throwaway products. Typically, polyethylene is used in the packaging that we come across. 

It may be of several kinds:

  • Polyethylene terephthalate: Bottles for beverages are often made with polyethylene terephthalate. Of all the plastic resins, it is the most prevalent and often recycled.
  • High-density polyethylene: this material is used to create containers for bulkier products and liquids including shampoo, motor oil, and laundry detergent.
  • Low-density polyethylene: used to create flexible plastic films and plastic bags. Not a lot of this plastic can be recycled.

Even the garments we purchase—whether they are handed to us in a plastic bag or delivered in plastic packaging—can be covered with these forms of plastic.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs), “Why is it important to use biodegradable materials for packing?”

Why is utilizing biodegradable packaging important?

Environment-friendly materials are used to create biodegradable packaging. Consequently, recycling is simpler. To make them, less energy is needed. They contribute to reducing climate change, are non-toxic, and emit less carbon.

Biodegradable packaging – what is it?

Any kind of packaging that will naturally break down and degrade is considered biodegradable. 

Traditionally, the word “biodegradable” has been used extremely broadly to refer to any sustainable packaging material that will spontaneously degrade – in any environment and over an arbitrary period of time.

How is environmentally friendly packaging preferable?

Compostable packaging has one of the greatest environmental advantages since it uses less carbon in its production. Additionally, it lessens the volume of garbage dumped in landfills and releases healthy nutrients into the Earth as it decomposes.

Why is it necessary for the environment to use biodegradable materials?

After composting, biodegradable materials including kitchen scraps, plant parts, and tree leaves may be utilized as humus. Soil fertility will increase as a result. 

The breeding grounds for carriers & vectors like rodents and mosquitoes, which transmit so many infectious illnesses, are mountains of such rubbish.

Is biodegradability preferable to recycling?

Consequently, even when decomposition occurs naturally, it may still be bad for the ecosystem. 

However, compared to conventional plastics, which may take hundreds of years to decompose, biodegradable plastics break down much more quickly. They seem to be a better environmental option as a result.

References:

https://www.mjspackaging.com/blog/the-importance-of-eco-friendly-packaging/
https://www.weavabel.com/blog/what-are-the-benefits-of-eco-friendly-packaging

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