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Going Green in the Packaging & Labeling Industry
Like many industries these days, the label and packaging industry is becoming more environmentally friendly all of the time due to growing concerns about the environment. The buying habits of consumers back up the fact that more people are becoming environmentally conscious, and most people will choose a product that is labelled environmentally friendly over one that is not.
It is a big deal for the packaging industry to be moving towards a more environmentally friendly mindset because of how big the industry is, as well as how much the business depends on paper products. Conventional packaging methods have experienced many changes in recent years, and many of the large players in the industry are working hard to help cut down their carbon footprint.
As these companies work toward being more green, they are also finding that it is saving them money overall. Money is being saved because the costs of transportation are going down, and so are warehousing costs because the excess packaging is being eliminated. This also benefits consumers because it makes it easier for them to unpack their products and there is much less packaging waste after it is removed from the package.
The 3 R’s of sustainability are becoming key terms in the packaging space as many manufacturers are making the switch for multiple reasons. If you are unfamiliar with the 3 R’s of sustainability they are: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. These 3 things help the environment and save money for everyone, both in homes and businesses. The fact that many industries are starting to take these 3 words much more seriously will have a very big impact on other related industries.
One of the ways that the packaging and labeling industry is getting more environmentally friendly is making the switch to soy based inks. Soy based ink is very low in volatile organic compounds which harm the environment. Soy inks are also able to be manufactured in much brighter colors than traditional petroleum based inks which makes the printing quality much better.
Food manufacturers are striving to find new and better ways of eliminating excess packaging. Since the food and beverage industry is one of the biggest offenders in the packaging industry when it comes to environmental waste, it is a giant step forward as they make advancements to cut down on some of the waste.
Another way in which the food industry is making their packaging more sustainable is by using organic packaging techniques. A brand new technology in produce packaging is up for a 2014 Impact Award from the Produce Marketing Association. It is a natural fiber tray that is biodegradable, recyclable, and is sealed with a breathable film. The packaging material is also 100% compostable. A company making some very innovative advancements with environmentally friendly packaging is Earthcycle, a Canadian sustainable packaging company.
Recycling is a very important factor in eliminating some of this waste, which is why a lot of companies are spending money to encourage recycling on their packages, as well as in their advertising, and even in commercials.
The companies that are spending the time and money on finding better ways to support environmental sustainability are also the ones that are helping to innovate the packaging industry with new and better products. According to an MIT study, many manufacturing companies are finding that sustainable packaging products are actually making them more profitable as well as increasing overall company morale.
Here are a few recent headlines that demonstrate some of the changes we are seeing as sustainability continues to gain ground:
- US recycles a record number of PET bottles in 2013
- Nescafe teams up with TerraCycle to recycle coffee capsules
- P&G aims at doubling the level of recycled resin in its packaging
- 65 billion PET bottles recycled in Europe in 2013
- Foodstuffs North Island launches recyclable seafood boxes
- EU approves new law to cut usage of plastic bags