Sustainable Packaging

The Complete Guide
for Your Business

What is Sustainable packaging?

Sustainable packaging is any type of eco-friendly material used to wrap, store, ship or shelve products.

Compostable packaging is an increasingly popular form of sustainable packaging. It protects food products similarly to regular packaging, displaying the properties and resilience of traditional materials, however it breaks down fully in the ground into beneficial organic compost.

Sustainable packaging is any type of eco-friendly material used to wrap, store, ship or shelve products.

What is Sustainable
Packaging Made Of?

Eco-friendly packaging includes recyclable materials, such as PET or HDPE plastic, cardboard and paper wrappings. These materials, once sorted correctly for recycling, can be shredded, pulped, or melted down and remolded to begin anew as raw material for new packaging or other uses. But while cardboard will retain the quality of its properties, plastics degrade each time their polymer chains are broken down (or melted) and can only be recycled so many times before they must be sent to landfill or incinerated.

Other eco-friendly materials, such as industrially compostable PLA (starch) and cellulose-based materials, are used for sustainable packaging because they have similar characteristics to plastic, but will biodegrade in compost. These compostable materials can be molded into food service containers and cutlery or flexible packaging. Compostable packaging can also be used for food packaging. The technology is so advanced that these films are very similar in performance to regular plastics, but due to its organic composition, it is certified to safely degrade in compost. Its unique performance and eco-friendliness make it the ideal material for effective sustainable packaging.

Why Do We Need
Sustainable Packaging?

89%

of Australian consumers are concerned about packaging waste

78%

say compostable packaging is the best solution to plastic waste 

79%

say the federal government should encourage compostable packaging over recycling

In 2018, it was estimated that just 23% of total PE films were sent for recycling.
The vast majority of food packaging is destined to become garbage.

In 2021, the volume of flexible packaging used worldwide reached 31.5 million tons.

Particularly with the massive increase in online shopping and e-commerce deliveries, the need for high-performance, low waste packaging is even more critical.

Why choose eco-friendly packaging in the fashion industry?

In the fashion industry, there are an estimated 150 billion plastic packaging bags used every year, and most of these end up in the landfill. In a recent poll, 86% of Italian adults said they were concerned about clothing packaging waste, and 9 out of 10 said they would prefer to receive clothing deliveries in compostable bags.

Can Sustainable Packaging
Help Reduce Food Waste?

Every year, 103 million tons of food is thrown away in the United States.

That’s 30 to 40% of the nation’s total food supply.

So how do brands replace their regular packaging with sustainable packaging? For some products, it’s an easy switch. But for others – especially in the food industry – packaging isn’t just an eco-problem. There are complex processes and logistics to contend with. Packaging is the ‘vehicle’ than enables companies to transport, shelve, and store food products in a way that’s durable, lightweight and food safe. While sustainable packaging is necessary for the planet, it also must be viable for businesses, and this is the ultimate challenge.

This enormous waste heads straight for the landfill; not just the food itself, but also the energy and materials that went into producing, storing, transporting and shelving those products. All the plastics, foils, wrappers and containers. The bags, boxes, lids and seals. Much of this waste is food-contaminated and therefore not recyclable. It is simply dumped layer upon layer in a landfill where it languishes forever, causing untold harm to the environment.

If we want to reduce this dangerous waste, heal our planet, and practice smarter business, the shift to sustainable packaging is a great place to start. Until now, single-use packaging has offered excellent protection for food products, but it’s end-of-life as trash is less than ideal. To continue protecting food items and keep food waste low, companies are pioneering innovative compostable materials that can safely pack food – without any harmful environmental consequences upon disposal.

The global agenda for
sustainable packaging

As eco-friendly technologies become more sophisticated and affordable,

new solutions are bringing us closer to a zero-waste world.

Governments worldwide are taking steps to encourage the use of green packaging. Countries such as Ireland, Italy and Japan are incentivizing businesses with tax exemptions for compostable packaging. In the UK, packaging containing less than 30% recycled materials will be subject to higher taxation.

Also in the UK, EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) schemes will hold manufacturers and retailers accountable for the end-of-life of their packaging, together with taxes on plastics that are hard-to-recycle, and exemptions for the use of sustainable packaging.

These measures and more are all part of a global agenda to encourage a move to sustainable packaging that is healthier for the planet.

Circling back to a healthier planet

Sustainable packaging is an integral part of the ‘circular economy’. Eco-friendly packaging uses raw materials and then restores them to their origins, minimizing waste of precious resources – like water and energy – necessary for their production. This is the only way to continue to support healthy globalization and maintain the wellbeing and integrity of our planet.

Change is coming from the top down – and the bottom up. Global leaders are pushing the move to sustainable packaging, but it’s the citizens and consumers who are the true champions; it is their hope for a cleaner world and commitment to zero waste that is driving businesses towards green packaging.

the big debate:
compostable vs recyclable

When people think of how to help the environment, recycling is one of the first ideas that comes to mind. And for many materials – glass, paper, metal – recycling is a solution that offers a high-quality end-product that can be used to generate new products over and over.

Plastics however, especially plastic packaging, if recycled, are actually downcycled into lower-q uality plastics before they’re no longer useful and get sent to landfill or incineration.

 

Compostable packaging demands no such process or resources.

The packaging material is organic with a built-in end-of-life and will degrade in regular compost bins. Like all compost, it will transform into a naturally nutrient-rich soil, with net benefits for our planet. It’s added-bonus is that it also acts as a vehicle to capture food and organic waste.

There are many ways to support sustainability, and recycling is an integral one. However, when it comes to food packaging, the benefits of compostable vs recyclable are clear.

Despite this, in many parts of the world, recycling of plastic bottles, containers, paper, and other materials is offered as a municipal service and part of the general lifestyle. But just because it’s a more established technology, doesn’t mean it works for every material, and it’s not working for plastic.

Compostable packaging—like the kind replacing hard-to-recycle plastics—might be new technology, but it’s actually modeled after the oldest form of recycling – and it offers a key advantage over recyclable packaging. Here’s how.

Recycling is a time, labor and energy intensive process

and still has a major impact on the environment. It requires collecting the recyclable material and manufacturing it into new pellets that will be downcycled into lower-quality plastic. Consider the infrastructure necessary to the recycling industry, from trucks and machinery, to factories, fuel, and electricity. Recycled plastic cannot be used for packaging with food-contact, and often needs to be mixed with virgin plastics to be usable.

What are the Benefits of Using Eco-Friendly Packaging for my Business?

Compostable packaging is what consumers want.

More than ever before, consumers are aware of the environmental impact of plastic packaging, and they are demanding change.

In a UK-based poll, 69% of respondents said they believe the food industry should move to compostable packaging.

Moreover, 58% say they are prepared to pay more for compostables. In Britain and all over the world, consumers are searching for packaging that can be disposed of easily and responsibly, without creating waste or microplastics that damage the environment.

Be part of the solution, not the problem.

By choosing compostable packaging, businesses can contribute to a cleaner, greener world, reducing the amount of harmful waste in municipal garbage dumps and minimizing the amount of microplastics that leach into the ground.

Compostable packaging restores nutrients to the soil, including carbon, which helps boost soil health and supports further food production.

By increasing the amount of carbon stored in the soil by just 0.4% each year, the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can be prevented.

get ahead of the future

Governments worldwide are encouraging eco-friendly business practices, and already implementing incentives to support new packaging choices and zero waste. Sustainable packaging is the future for the food industry (and many others), so companies would be wise to start laying the foundations for the shift to green packaging, even today.

Sustainable Packaging Examples

TIPA is a world leader in compostable flexible packaging, ideally suited for a wide range of food products and applications.

Films and laminates developed by TIPA are certified as compostable in homes or industrial settings, breaking down within 180 days to water, CO2 and biomass. TIPA’s products act just like plastic packaging yet biodegrade fully just like any other organic matter.

reels

TIPA films and laminates offer excellent sealing properties, oxygen and moisture barriers, strength, and printability.

Pre-made packaging

TIPA films and laminates offer excellent sealing properties, oxygen and moisture barriers, strength, and printability.

Flow-wrapped packaging and Lidding

TIPA films and laminates offer excellent sealing properties, oxygen and moisture barriers, strength, and printability.

Move Your Business to Eco-Friendly Packaging with TIPA

For packaging converters, distributors, brands, retailers, and e-tailers, TIPA’s flexible, high-performance, compostable packaging can be integrated into existing systems and operations, supporting a sustainable packaging solution without any disruption to your business.

Sustainable packaging and a zero-waste approach are no longer a dream – TIPA can create the right solution for your business, so you can adopt the most effective, organic, compostable packaging fast, and help make our world greener, healthier, and happier.