In recent years, people have become more aware of the importance of being eco-friendly. Packaging is one of the factors that affect our planet; that’s why retail companies need to embrace green packaging. Many items are shipped throughout the world every day and some create waste, and are not recyclable. This means that we have a huge amount of waste, like plastics and Styrofoam. However, the good news is we can solve this problem with green packaging.
Sustainable packaging in the UAE refers to the process of sourcing raw materials, manufacturing, and packaging methods that use less energy. This has a low impact on the environment. Sustainable packaging is done in a clean environment using recyclable and biodegradable materials that are energy efficient.
All About Green Packaging
There are 4 major types of green packaging. Renewable resource-based packaging is derived from starch and is 90% biodegradable within 9 months when left in industrial compost. The raw materials to make these products come from potatoes, sugarcane, corn, and other starchy foods.
There are 2 types of packaging with additives; OXO and Bio additives. These additives are added to make the packaging material biodegradable. Packaging optimization focuses on reduction while protecting the product. Recycling materials is a familiar term, and it remains a fundamental process in sustainable packaging.
How Retail Companies can go Green in Their Packaging
As more waste continues to pile, consumers are starting to demand sustainable packaging and companies are changing their packaging methods. Below are innovative ways to turn to green packaging;
1/ Paper Bottles
Did you know that most of the plastic bottles produced end up in landfills and oceans? These take many years to break down. Sustainable packaging in the UAE is achievable if retail companies could switch to paper bottles.
Paper bottles can be made by utilizing pulp from sugarcane, bamboo, wheat straw, bulrush, and husks. However, the pulp mixture might not hold liquids and beverages properly; that’s why recycled resin is used. This makes the bottle 100% recyclable. The paper bottle design incorporates 2 materials; resin and the pulp mixture. These materials are easy to separate, and the resin is recyclable.
Plastic water bottles make the most non-biodegradable waste; however, other products are also packed into plastic bottles. Retail companies can try to sue paper bottles to package different items, like shampoos, cleaners, and soap dispensers.
2/ Eco-friendly Bags
The main purpose of a shopping bag is to keep our items safe during transportation. Reusable shopping bags have a lot of benefits. Eco-friendly shopping bags are sturdier for carrying different items. This means they won’t break easily; therefore a customer only requires a single bag to carry many items. This reduces waste and the need for production of more bags, which uses energy.
Eco-friendly shopping and packaging bags meet sustainable packaging principles because they are reusable. You can use them to do your shopping several times because they are durable and strong.
Reusable bags also mean that we will have less plastic in our landfills. Plastics are damaging to the environment, and a single plastic bag takes at least 1000 years to decompose. Plastic also threatens animal life, like birds and marine animals. Plastic bags cause the deaths of many animals by suffocation. Also, small children can suffocate when they play with these bags. Plastic bags are non-biodegradable, which means we can only get rid of them by burning. This releases toxic fumes, which increase environmental pollution.
3/ Using Banana Leaves
Using banana leaves as a packaging material might seem like a new trend, but this practice goes back in time. Companies can embrace sustainable packaging in the UAE by using banana leaves instead of plastics to pack food.
Banana leaves are sturdy, water-tight, and hygienic. The good thing about using banana leaves is that bananas are widely grown, which makes the packaging products readily available. As many retail companies are looking for sustainable packaging, banana leaves are ideal because they are 100% biodegradable. They are cheap because they are found on bananas. This means that we do not require excess energy to get raw materials or to manufacture these packages. Banana leaves help to reduce our carbon footprint.
4/ Seed-Embedded Eco-Packaging
In the pursuit of embracing green packaging, companies can seed-embedded eco-packaging. This paper is created from post-consumer products that are incorporated with seeds during the pulping process. These products grow into wildflowers or other trees when planted.
The packaging paper is completely biodegradable and leaves no waste residue; this makes it a perfect alternative to other packaging paper materials. Wildflowers are pollinator plants; this means that they support the diminishing bee population. Bees play a significant role in pollinating most of the foods we eat.
5/ Edible Packaging
Food packaging is important to many companies because of various reasons, like protecting the products from bacteria and advertising the brand. Unfortunately, most of the food packaging out there are made of petroleum-based plastics, which are non-biodegradable.
Edible food packaging is designed to be eaten and is biodegradable, just like the food product it contains. There are various types of edible food packaging; the most popular is the ice-cream cone, which is made of a waffle cone that contains ice-cream. Different companies come up with different ways to make edible food packages; for instance, edible cups.
6/ Organic Materials
Sustainable packaging requires creativity to come up with new and hygienic ways of packaging. Seaweed packaging is an excellent alternative to non-biodegradable packaging materials. Seaweed is not only biodegradable, but it also dissolves in hot water, which makes it ideal for packaging teabags. This also means it is safe for consumption. The food wrapper/packaging made from seaweed can also be used as fertilizer for plants. This is because seaweed is rich in minerals, vitamins, and high fiber levels.
Environmental concerns are changing the way industries view packaging. Many companies are shifting to green packaging, which is not only beneficial to the organization but also to consumers and the environment. Green packaging reduces carbon emissions, which helps to lower our carbon footprint.