How sustainable packaging can help save the environment

Need to shift toward a clean environment by reducing plastic use

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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 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.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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