Friday, May 4, 2012

Sustainable Packaging: An Answer to Environmental Problem

Expensive, colorful and striking packaging is a huge component of modern consumerism. Since most buyers are attracted to products with good packaging, manufacturers capitalize on spending a great deal of investment to produce eye-catching designs that will stand out from the crowd.
However, the trend in the packaging industry has turned dramatically from just visually appealing packages to eco-friendly alternatives. Brought about by rigorous campaign of environmentalists, more and more consumers are being aware of the environmental impact of huge amount of wastes from packages being dumped everyday in landfills. Consumer power has forced business industry to optimize the use of energy in production as well as to use recyclable materials. Thus, the era of Sustainable Packaging is born.
What is Sustainable Packaging?
Sustainable packaging is the process of producing designs with the lowest possible environmental impact without compromising the quality of the product. It’s becoming the foremost criteria for ranking packaging and a new requirement for success that’s why more companies are jumping into the sustainable packaging bandwagon.
Sustainable Packaging is basically founded on the three fundamental goals: functional, cost-effective and support long term human and ecological health. Functionality of packaging involves product protection from tampering, safety for consumer usage and compliance to regulatory. Cost-effectiveness refers to the products unlikely to be used if too expensive, which forces companies to create an efficient streamlining of all their production processes. Supporting long-term human and ecological health simply means that production should consider the environment from the materials used to wastes produced.
How is Sustainable Packaging different from Reduce, Reuse and Recycle?
Reduce, reuse and recycle, which have been the practice of most companies are just elements of sustainable packaging but placed in a broader perspective.
Reduce. Some products are placed in an unnecessary larger package either to make it appear bigger or appealing to the consumer’s eyes. This is specifically true in the package of most food chips in the market. However, this is impractical and the main cause of wastage. By reducing the size of the packaging, you can save a lot of materials used. Reducing the amount energy used in the production as well as the amount of nonbiodegradable materials are some of the objectives of sustainable packaging.
Reuse. In sustainable packaging, companies are encouraged to use raw materials that are renewable and could be used for other purposes like paper. Even the reuse of water is strongly promoted using an effective water treatment process.
Recycle.  Packaging companies are enjoined to use low value recyclable materials and turn them into high value products. This would create a chain of consumption of materials that would reduce huge amount of waste.
In this day of consumer-driven society, packaging industry is faced with an enormous challenge of conforming to sustainable packaging. Otherwise, companies will be left out in the market. Soon, consumers will be more discriminating in looking for a seal or trademark in the product packages as evident of sustainable packaging. This is probably the best thing that happened to this modern time of commercialism. People can enjoy buying anything they wish to without much hurt to the Planet.