The public and private sectors continue to practice and regulate greener initiatives as the sustainability movement gains more favor. Consumers are more aware and recognize sustainability as a crucial factor in lifestyle choices.
A recent study revealed that sustainability is rated as an important purchase criterion for 60% of consumers globally. Over one-third of them are keen to pay more for sustainability as demand grows for environmentally friendly product alternatives, including packaging.
As times change, business owners and personnel in the procurement or packaging industry should step up their knowledge of sustainability and how it can impact their business.
While plastic shrink film is still a popular way to protect and package items, businesses should now invest in eco-friendly alternatives to keep up with the consumers’ demands for sustainable packaging materials.
The problem with shrink film is its negative impact on the environment. Beyond Plastics estimates that 90% of the entire plastics in history have not been recycled yet. This results in greenhouse gases and toxic chemicals polluting the air and oceans. Micro-particles from plastic have also been found in drinking water, seafood, honey, and even salt.
A couple of brands have begun to adjust to sustainability measures. Some manufacturers have released their own biodegradable alternatives to shrink film and even for the rings and plastic shrink wrap used for beverage cans. These were done to lessen waste disposal and provide a more eco-friendly option for consumers.
Here are some of the alternatives that you can use instead of shrink film:
Testliner refers to paperboard similar to kraft paper but is 100% made from recycled fiber. Colorants are added to the product for color quality. The added powdered paste helps strengthen the surface and optimize its printing ability.
Testliner is a more sustainable material for food packaging, consumables packaging, and sheets lined in corrugated cartons.
Beeswax food wraps are another environmentally friendly choice for food packaging. The materials are composed of organic materials like cotton, beeswax, resin, and jojoba oil. They are reusable, can be washed, frozen, or turned into packets, and become flexible the more you use them.
However, a downside to beeswax is that the wraps can melt right away if misused.
Glass is one of the longest-lasting materials that can give you unlimited convenience in the years to come, unlike single-use plastics. You can use glass containers in your household appliances—something you cannot do with most plastic products.
Consider swapping your shrink film with parchment paper. Also known as baking paper, this non-stick paper is a staple in cooking and baking. The two main components of parchment paper are wood pulp and silicone. That is why parchment paper doesn’t need any butter or oils when cooking.
Brown parchment paper is considered the more sustainable option since it is made from wood pulp that did not undergo bleaching. Since it is biodegradable, it can be composted and used multiple times until the non-stick layer goes away.
Corrugated cardboard consists of used cartons and old newspapers, making it one of the most sustainable packaging options.
Some corrugated boards are made from 100% recycled materials. The average composition of cardboard is within 70–90% recycled materials, which is still significant compared to plastic and wood.
For less waste disposal, why not just deliver them without packaging? While this will be a bit more difficult when going to groceries, you can always plan and be more mindful about your purchasing decisions when surrounded by non-sustainable products.
Sustainable products have become a necessity as people become more aware of future environmental consequences, including being mindful of sustainable packaging materials. Try replacing your plastics with glass, paper, or beeswax materials and see what difference they make. After all, sustainability is about making these small steps every day to protect our planet.
Browse the I’m Plastic Free platform to discover plastic pollution solutions.