Plastic is unhealthy, and it’s all around — from landfills to oceans, lakes and rivers. Between 19 and 23 million tons of plastic seep into aquatic ecosystems annually and harm marine and aquatic wildlife.
In response to the ongoing issue of plastic pollution, finding and using alternatives to plastic packaging is vital. One viable option is to switch from plastic to more sustainable packaging, such as paper-based products. This switch reduces the use of single-use plastic, helping to protect the planet and those who call it home.
The Problem With Plastic Packaging
Plastic is incredibly durable, which is helpful when you want to protect products during shipment or on store shelves. But, once those products go home with the customer, plastic packaging becomes a problem.
Although it can be recycled, plastic often ends up in the trash or as litter — just 9% of plastic waste gets recycled. Recycling isn’t the best solution, either, as plastics are notoriously difficult to recycle, and only certain types of plastic can be consistently recycled. Many people aren’t sure if the plastic they have can get recycled but toss it into the bin anyway, further complicating the issue.
A simpler and more sustainable method is to trade plastic for a material that can be readily recycled and won’t linger in oceans or the environment for decades.
The world is taking steps toward becoming plastic-free. One of those steps involves replacing plastic packaging with paper-formed packaging. Compared to plastic, paper has many environmental advantages, such as:
- It’s biodegradable, so it will break down faster than plastic.
- It’s easy to recycle and has a high recycling rate.
- It’s often made from recycled material.
Along with being better for the environment than plastic, paper packaging can boost your brand’s image. When you switch from plastic to paper packaging, you show your customers that you’re committed to protecting the planet. Environmentally conscious individuals will be more drawn to your products, as a result.
Sustainable Packaging Innovations
As the demand for sustainable packaging increases, companies are getting more innovative with the products available. There’s a push for packaging made from renewable and compostable materials, such as:
Another packaging innovation is the use of mono-materials. A major roadblock to plastic recycling is that many plastics, particularly those labeled “3” or “7” are made from a mix of materials. It’s challenging to separate out each chemical or substance and effectively recycle it. Mono-materials are, true to their name, made from a single material, allowing them to be recycled more readily.
In addition to using renewable materials, packaging innovations focus on circularity. A circular design sees packaging take on many lives. Rather than going from holding a product to being thrown away, the packaging can have a second life or be reused in some way.
Learn More About Great Northern Packaging’s Plastic Alternatives
Great Northern Packaging is excited to offer our customers sustainable and environmentally friendly plastic alternatives. If you’re ready to ditch plastic, we’d love to talk. Contact us today to learn more about our new paper-formed packaging options.