How sustainable packaging can help save the environment

Need to shift toward a clean environment by reducing plastic use

How sustainable packaging can help save the environment
Reducing the use of plastic and recycling is the key. Only 9% of the world’s total plastic is recycled, the rest will take 50 to 400 years to degrade. Photo credit: John Cameron on Unsplash

Sustainability creates and supports conditions under which nature and humans can co-exist in productive unity and maintain a balance, allowing us all to fulfil the socioeconomic requirements of the present and future generations. 

Sustainability is the capacity to withstand in an ongoing way various aspects of life, and as such, humans must take the first step to lead a sustainable life if they want to reduce the harm caused to the environment.

Due to its high environmental impact, the packaging industry is one of the most crucial sectors with regard to sustainability. And this is where sustainable and eco-friendly packaging comes to play. 

Here are a few top reasons why we must care about sustainable packaging.

  1. Universal plastic trash

Nearly 2.5 billion metric tons of solid waste are produced across the world, according to the Jambeck journal. Of these, around 8 million metric tons enter the oceans, endangering aquatic life. The United Nations (UN) Environment Program states that by the end of 2050, the ocean will have more plastic than fish. 

Only 9% of the world’s total plastic is recycled, the rest will take 50 to 400 years to degrade. This serious concern forced the UN to deal with waste disposal in the right way. 

It is also a major health concern for humans as plastic breaks down into microplastics and gets into our bodies through various food streams.

  1. Restricted resources

Plastic is obtained from crude oil. There is a need to find ways to manage and use the oil resources effectively rather than create more single-use plastic packaging, as the crude reserves would get exhausted in the future. 

We need to find sources with bio-based, reusable energy and other natural resources that are easily reusable and biodegradable, helping maintain a balance in the environment.

  1. Landfill gas

A natural after-product of decomposed organic material in landfills, landfill gas, contains 50% methane — the primary natural gas component — a limited amount of non-methane organic compounds and 50% carbon dioxide.

Methane is a powerful gas that traps heat 28 to 36 times more effectively than carbon dioxide. In 2018, the United States generated more than 35.7 million tons of plastic, which was 12.2% of its municipal solid waste (MSW) production.

How do we take part in the sustainable packaging campaign?

Brand owners and product manufacturers can build a sustainable operating system. As end users, we can start by replacing single-use plastic with recyclable packaging for shopping bags or daily requirements.

Reusing containers for storing food or beverages and reducing bottled drinking water can be another step toward sustainability. 

As consumers become more aware of plastic’s dangers, many companies are developing environment-friendly packaging.

A leading pulp and paper company, App Sinar Mas, has introduced an innovative eco-friendly solution in the food and beverage packing sector. So have companies such as Bobst in collaboration with Michelman and UPM. Companies like these, with the support of industry and consumers can make the environment safe and sustainable.

(This article has been slightly corrected on 1 September 2022 – Editor.)

The impact, resilience, and growth of responsible packaging in a wide region are daily chronicled by Packaging South Asia.

A multi-channel B2B publication and digital platform such as Packaging South Asia is always aware of the prospect of new beginnings and renewal. Its 16-year-old print monthly, based in New Delhi, India has demonstrated its commitment to progress and growth. The Indian and Asian packaging industries have shown resilience in the face of ongoing challenges over the past three years.

As we present our publishing plan for 2023, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2023 will reach 6.3%. Packaging industry growth has exceeded GDP growth even when allowing for inflation in the past three years.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 33% over the past three years. With orders in place, we expect another 33% capacity addition from 2023 to 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels have grown similarly. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

Even given the disruptions of supply chains, raw material prices, and the challenge of responsible and sustainable packaging, packaging in all its creative forms and purposes has significant headroom to grow in India and Asia. Our context and coverage engulf the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and further – to waste collection and recycling. We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers.

In an admittedly fragmented and textured terrain, this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing support communication – in our impactful and highly targeted business platform. Tell us what you need. Speak and write to our editorial and advertising teams! For advertisement , for editorial and for subscriptions

– Naresh Khanna

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