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Earth Day – Environmentally Friendly Packaging & 5 Rs

We are often asked: Is flexible retail packaging environmentally friendly? We can emphatically say... YES (and we’ll explain in further detail later).  Today we will enjoy another Earth Day and will inevitably be reminded of things we could and should be doing to “go green” and “be green." We are proud that flexible retail packaging is doing its part and continues to have such a profound effect on our world.  Individually and as groups of people we can and should be doing things proactively to help our environment. 

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Environmentally Friendly Packaging and the 5Rs:

What started out as the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle) became the 4Rs and now we have the 5Rs!  Each time we add a level to this list, it is another reminder of the flexible retail packaging industry and how it can help our world.  Earth Day is a great reminder to think differently and try new things that will ultimately help preserve the world around us.

  • Refuse
    • How many times each day do we see packaging that has a negative impact on our environment? Heavy glass jars that require a ton of energy to make, store, and ship, or massive plastic canisters for protein powder and liquid detergent are used in situations where flexible retail packaging should be considered.  This first step puts the power in our hands.  As consumers we can refuse to accept retail packaging that won't change with the times. Take back control, invest in companies that care about the environment enough to package their product responsibly. 
  • Reduce
    • Studies have shown that one of the best ways to help our environment is to reduce what we are currently using. Not fancy new film structures that cost 50% more, but changing what we are already using.  We're talking about switching from a glass jar to a spouted stand up pouch for baby food, or using a printed stand up bag instead of metal canisters and tins.  Not only are these alternatives cheaper than the older style of retail packaging but they ship flat, store flat, require less energy to make, and take up a fraction of the space in your warehouse.
  • Reuse
    • We all know we can be creative with various items that were once used to hold something else. Flexible retail packaging allows us do just that over and over and over again!
  • Recycle
    • Environmentally friendly packaging must be recyclable. Flexible packaging is landfill friendly and can be ground up into tiny pellets called regrind which is a major component in making other products such as plastic lumber, park benches, and picnic tables.
  • Rot
    • There have been major improvements in film structures that can biodegrade over a period of time. The results have been incredible.  As far as environmentally friendly packaging that has barrier properties to keep the contents fresh, we are well on our way and very close to being able to say “we’ve got it.”  Again, as a society this has to be protective and cost effective.

In closing…as we enjoy another Earth Day, let’s remember the importance of reducing our ecological footprint as much as possible, with recyclable stand up pouches. Remember, It's your product, package it properly... AND... responsibly. Happy Earth Day!

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David Marinac

Written by David Marinac

What LEGO’s Sustainable Packaging Teaches Us About Overseas Innovation

Since 1949, children across the globe have fawned over tiny, plastic, interlocking bricks.

LEGOs are a not only a classic toy but a staple in many households. Many kids beg their parents to take them to the majestic LEGOLAND, an amusement park where all their wishes and dreams could come true.

Why Nestlé, Unilever & PepsiCo are Banning Oxo-degradable Plastic Packaging

Originally marketed as an eco-friendly packaging material, new evidence regarding the potentially negative impact of oxo-degradable plastics has led a number of companies and governments to restrict their use.

More than 150 companies and global organizations, including Nestlé, Unilever and PepsiCo, have recently endorsed a total ban on the material in light of its potentially negative environmental impact.

Oxo-degradable plastic packaging, which includes select plastic pouch bags, is often marketed as a solution to plastic pollution because it claims to degrade into harmless residues within a period ranging from a few months to several years. However, oxo-degradable plastics do not degrade into harmless residues, but instead, fragment into tiny shards of plastic that actually contribute to plastic pollution.

Often, consumers think that because a material is biodegradable, it can be composted or even littered on the ground, because, it is thought, the material will break down into nothing over time. This actually ends up leading to an increase in pollution, since consumers don’t end up recycling or repurposing the material, and misconceptions about how the plastic will degrade leads them to end up putting it back into landfills.

What is important to note in this case is that although oxo-degradable plastics are biodegradable, being biodegradable does not necessarily mean that a material is eco-friendly. Although these plastics do break down over time, the tiny pieces they break down into are still plastics that contribute to pollution — they do not degrade into nothing or into another usable substance.

For companies looking to make the switch to sustainable packaging, it is important to consider that sustainable packaging does not necessarily mean biodegradable packaging, and vice versa.

Why New FDA Guidelines Could Bring Big Changes to Pet Food Packaging

Today’s consumers are demanding transparency and accountability from all types of products, and pet food is no exception.

Greater scrutiny over pet food ingredients, and an increasing demand for responsibility, sustainability and complete transparency from pet food manufacturers is driving change within the industry. As the consumer demand for “clean” pet food labeling evolves as a major topic within the world of pet packaging, FDA guidelines are shifting.

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