An eco-friendly step towards protective packaging

Safety for shipments during transit

protective packaging
Photo Ismael Paramo on Unsplash

In recent years, there has been a sudden surge in the eCommerce sector and packaging around the world. In the fast-running lifestyle and high rate of shipping products, there is nothing worse than receiving a parcel that has been tampered with during the shipping process or warehousing. Thus, protective packaging is widely used to avoid product damage and is used as a primary or secondary form of packaging depending on the product contained within. It can be used for any type of product to guarantee safety during transportation, handling, and storage.

Types of protective packaging

Protective packaging is used as a cushioning or insulating material like a buffer to the product and is commonly used by service providers to ensure that the product safely reaches in pristine condition to their consumers. This packaging is widely used right from small-scale business to large-scale business and across all industries from food and beverages, entertainment, clothing to healthcare. 

Some of the commonly used packaging materials are packaging shavings, bubble bags, corrugated boxes, bubble wrap, paper void fill, padded dividers, wrapping paper, layer pads, and packaging foams such as polyurethane foam.

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Protective packaging market dynamics

Protective packaging plays a key role in shipping and logistics and aids in protecting the finished products from extreme environmental conditions as well as from external vibrations, moisture, fire, and shock damage. A high preference for cost-effective, online purchases and door-to-door delivery services has increased the production of packaging materials.

There has been a continuous demand for protective packaging materials in several industries including food and beverages, industrial goods, consumer electronics, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and automotive among others. Protective packaging can be classified into foam, flexible, and rigid and plastic, plastic foams, paper, and cardboard are some of the widely used materials for it. However, most of these materials cause harm to the environment. Several governments have also imposed stringent regulations due to rising plastic pollution and environmental concerns. Thus, various manufacturers and organizations are shifting their focus to sustainable and affordable packaging. The protective packaging market is expected to reach US$ 44.72 billion (approximately Rs 3,26,943 crore) by 2028 at a steady CAGR of 4.8%, according to the latest research report published by Reports and Data.

Why is green protective packaging trending?

Though thousands of packages circulate across the globe daily, most of these are made out of non-eco-friendly materials that end up as waste on streets, oceans, and landfills, polluting the environment. Another issue with non-eco-friendly packaging is that materials like plastics are made by refining crude oil. This not only causes depletion of non-renewable sources but also causes harm to living organisms during the degradation process. Thus, various manufacturers along with consumers are opting for eco-friendly protective packaging.

Sustainable packaging or greener packaging use as one of its tools, life cycle inventory and life cycle assessment for resourcing, development, and use of packaging to helps reduce its environmental impact, carbon footprint along with shipping costs. Manufacturers are focusing on developing packaging materials that include renewable resources and biodegradable materials such as cornstarch, wood pulp, and plant-based biomaterials, or recyclable materials such as particular plastic structures, metal, and cardboard.

Some materials commonly used in green packaging are recycled cardboard and paper; corrugated bubble wrap; biodegradable air peanuts; starch-based biomaterials; mushroom-based packaging; seaweed-based packaging; bioplastics and recycled plastics; post-consumer recycled plastics; and refurbished or reusable packaging.

Importance of green packaging

Green packaging is beneficial not only to the environment but also to suppliers and consumers. A well-set strategy to recover and reuse some of the discarded packaging materials help in establishing a closed-loop system, making it sustainable and attracting more eco-conscious customers. 

Adoption of green packaging can help the environment and living beings in the following ways:

  • Decrease in the use of natural resources and increasing utilization of renewable resources for recycling and up-cycling products 
  • Increasing awareness about harmful effects of packaging wastage 
  • Reduction in carbon footprints and use of fossil fuels 
  • Less pollution of oceans and landfills

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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