Every week we get multiple questions around biodegradable packaging. The want and need for environmentally friendly products today are amazing. When it comes to packaging, it seems customers want three boxes to be ticked – they want the product to be 100% biodegradable, the product must be cost effective and the packaging must keep the product inside fresh for an extended period of time.
Certain combinations of the above three needs are possible but ticking 3 boxes is currently a difficult if not impossible task. Biodegradable packaging is tremendous for the environment, we all know that, however biodegradable packaging is going to break down in the presence of heat, light and moisture which is going to adversely influence the freshness of the product inside if the packaging is not stored correctly. Due to the limited amount of good biodegradable packaging that exists in the world, any biodegradable packaging product you find (if it truly is biodegradable) is going to be a bit more expensive than your standard packaging products. As you can see with good bio-packaging a cheap product that keeps products fresh for a long time is tough to come by.
What is also difficult in the packaging world is consumers are falling for products that companies are promoting as fully biodegradable, when in fact they are not. For example, there is a form of biodegradable packaging being promoted worldwide that is just standard packaging with a wash over the top that helps the bag break down a little bit quicker than a standard bag. It really adds no biodegradable property to the bag itself and is really a complete hoax. There seems to be a rush for consumers to be in this biodegradable space, due to external pressures and things we see in the media each day. This rush is extremely counterproductive though, and this is because the perfect biodegradable packaging does not exist in our market just yet. There are some companies with some amazing bio products such as BioPak, The Packaging People (to name a couple) and I know there is more to come in the next 12 months from these two companies but still there are some imperfections here.
Whilst the development of “THE PERFECT BIODEGRADABLE PACKAGING” takes shape in the coming months, there is a much simpler solution that exists right under our eyes when it comes to being more environmentally friendly with our packaging – it is known as RECYCLABLE PACKAGING.
Recyclable packaging has many benefits in terms of what it provides relative to biodegradable packaging. Firstly, you know exactly what you are getting with recyclable packaging, there are no nasties in the product, it is quite simply a bag made from recycled plastics. Secondly, recyclable packaging has some significant cost benefits compared to the biodegradable stuff.
I think all packaging suppliers know exactly the space we need to operate in moving forward, we must continuously improve and develop products in the bio space. What needs to be understood by consumers is that this is a long journey and a difficult point to get to – I can tell you however the best is yet to come in this space.
Keep your eyes peeled for new products in the eco-friendly space in the coming months. Any feedback or questions regarding the above send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear from you.
By Shayden Robinson
Operations Manager, The Packaging People