Eco-Friendly Packaging Has Been Solved, And It’s Not What You Think
U.S. retailers have long sought solutions to the consumer desire for more environmentally friendly packaging. Plenty of great science has gone into developing some intriguing eco-friendly plastic packaging options, such as:
- Containers made from sugarcane pulp
- Fiber-reinforced biocomposite hemp plastics
- Sustainable and compostable corn foam
- Self-assembling mushroom-based packaging that grows in 7 days
Be Careful With “Bioplastics”
These biomaterials are worth considering. Many consumers and companies want exactly this kind of thing. The Oversea Network is able to source various biodegradable or compostable material styles for brands that have an interest in alternative packaging. Samples of sugarcane-based take out food containers are available — and they’re pretty cool.
With that said, be careful when sourcing eco-friendly options like these. Just because a manufacturer calls something “biodegradable plastic” doesn’t always mean that it will actually degrade in real world conditions. Plant-based alternatives and bioplastics are intended to solve a lot of the issues of traditional plastic, but it’s often hard to tell which products are truly biodegradable.
Some will break down into small and smaller plastics (microplastics) without truly decomposing. Others can be composted, but will not properly degrade in a landfill — where they’ll often end up — because they won’t be exposed to air and sunlight. Landfills are designed to bury trash away from air and sunlight, eliminating odors and preserving them forever. Always check with us first for a detailed explanation of how and why a material performs the way it does.
It’s also possible that this innovative packaging costs more than what you’re used to. Just food for thought — if it’s right for your company, go for it and we’ve got your back.
The Real Solution to Eco-Friendly Plastic Packaging Is Not What You Think
Rigid plastic bottles are terrible. Not only do they use up a ton of plastic but they take up a ton of space in landfills with nothing but empty air. Eco-friendly plastic packaging can also take the form of a recyclable spout bag or pouch, however, which has none of those problems. There are some new, ingenious options available, too.
Think about the waste and inconvenience involved in traditional plastic straws. A Capri Sun or other pouch-based juice typically has a straw taped to the side. What happens when that straw gets knocked off in the cooler or your tote bag on the way to the pool? Or if it breaks out of the thin protective liner? Digging around to find an errant straw and worrying about contamination are not “convenient,” and neither is the wasted plastic liner.
We’ve worked with spouted pouches that use embedded straws. That’s right: they’re part of the pouch itself. Sell these to a casino or a resort and the buyers can take them out by the pool with no shattered glass, no wrappers discarded on the ground, no fiddling with the straw, and no problem.
A flexible spouted pouch takes over 70% less plastic to make than a bottle, is 100% recyclable, ships flat, stores flat, and takes up almost no space in a landfill should the consumer fail to recycle it.
Don’t Stop at Beverages
Why not laundry detergent? How about cosmetics, mascara, foundation? Motor oil? Spaghetti sauce? Or use a retort pouch, fill it with soup, and help consumers to cook it right in the bag. There’s no good reason that all of these products and many more need to be stored in rigid bottles or cans. Those packaging solutions are expensive and take up excessive space.
The U.S. domestic market is finally waking up to the cost-saving and environment-saving advantages of flexible spout pouch packaging. This style has been popular in Europe for years, and it’s about time that U.S.-based companies discovered the eco-friendly advantages of a package that helps everyone while making no compromises on quality or convenience.