Sustainability is gaining a lot of support and attention in the packaging field in recent years. No matter your industry, you surely have already noticed how most of your competitors are starting to come up with eco-friendly solutions for their shipping boxes and product packaging. If you still haven’t made the shift from plastics to biodegradable materials, maybe it’s time to catch up.
But what makes biodegradable alternatives so popular? Learn more on the topic, get answers to all your questions and get inspiration for your product packaging in this article by Packlion.
What is biodegradable packaging
Biodegradable packaging is a type of packaging that naturally breaks down fast and leaves no toxic traces, instead of contaminating and polluting the environment long-term upon disposal. It is made of renewable materials, and sourced in an ethical way.
Most types of biodegradable materials like paper and cardboard are also compostable and recyclable. Depending on the contents and the purpose, some innovative food packaging could also be edible (disclaimer: that does not mean all biodegradable options are safe to consume).
But the biggest reason companies are making the switch from plastics to sustainable packaging is the social responsibility to preserve the environment. Some of the environmental benefits of biodegradable packaging include:
- Environmental protection
- Reducing the waste of natural resources
- Easily decomposed
- Less carbon emission
- Less breakdown time
We will talk about each of those advantages in the next few sections.
Why use biodegradable materials
The first viable reason to use biodegradable materials in your product packaging is genuine environmental protection. Biodegradable packaging has immense positive effects on the climate and nature throughout its whole lifecycle. There are a few ways biodegradable packaging ensures environmental welfare.
Let’s talk about waste. Once thrown away, sustainable packaging can be left alone to decompose without any pollution of the air, land, and seas. Plus, it cannot hurt wild animals by being mistakenly consumed or getting wrapped around them. In addition, biodegradable materials can also be repurposed, recycled, and composted.
Reducing the waste of natural resources
Plastic wraps and containers waste tons of non-renewable resources and fuel to be produced. Processing also requires a lot of water and energy. The sad part is, that these processes result in a vast ecological footprint and we are never getting these natural resources back.
Well, the good news is, the alternative is way better. Biodegradable materials are made of fully renewable natural supplies instead. That means sourcing them does not deprive the environment of any vital resources in the long term. As for material processing, eco-friendly packaging requires way less water and electricity than plastic packaging production.
As the name suggests, the best feature of biodegradable packaging is that it breaks down and decomposes easily. Since they are non-toxic, the biodegradable alternatives are not polluting the environment in any way, nor pose a threat to the well-being of humans and wildlife animals. And the best part is, that consumers do not need to worry about ways to repurpose the packaging or feel guilty for accumulating waste.
Less carbon emission
The processing and production of the packaging consume less energy and water, ensuing in a reduced eco-footprint. Moreover, due to the flexible, collapsable, space-saving, and lightweight qualities of sustainable packaging, the transportation of materials, ready boxes, and packaged products also results in fewer carbon emissions compared to traditional packaging. There are also fewer emissions during the decomposition process.
Less breakdown time
While polyethylene and microplastics take hundreds of years to break down and vastly contaminate nature, oceans, and air after disposal, that is not the case with eco-friendly packaging. Biodegradable boxes fully break down in a matter of weeks and leave no toxic leftovers after their deterioration.