The Simply Brilliant Blog

Choosing the Most Eco-Friendly Packaging Design

When it comes to choosing eco-friendly packaging design, the choices may seem confusing. Alternative packaging materials may seem like the best option, but how do they compare with petroleum-based plastics when it comes to energy use and greenhouse gas emissions? Here we will discuss some points to consider when choosing between alternative materials or plastics for your packaging design needs.

A study has determined that six major categories of plastic packaging help to significantly reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions compared to packaging alternatives made with other materials. The study on the packaging industry, “Impact of Plastics Packaging on Life Cycle Energy Consumption & Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the United States and Canada,” provides a transparent, detailed assessment that quantifies the energy and climate benefits of using various types of everyday plastic packaging compared to alternatives.

The Franklin Associates for the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association prepared a study assessing the energy requirements and greenhouse gas emissions of six general categories of plastic packaging produced and sold in the U.S. and Canada. These include the packaging design of caps and closures, beverage containers, other rigid containers, carrier (or shopping) bags, stretch/shrink wrap, and other flexible packaging.

Study authors used life-cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to compare current amounts of various plastic packaging product designs to packaging made with alternative materials. The assessment found that for the baseline year 2010, replacing all plastic packaging with non-plastic alternatives for these six types of packaging in the U.S. would:

• Require 4.5 times as much packaging material by weight, increasing the amount of packaging used in the U.S. by nearly 55 million tons (110 billion lb)

• Increase energy use by 80%—equivalent to the energy from 91 oil supertankers

• Result in 130% more global warming potential—equivalent to adding 15.7 million more cars to our roads

Similar calculations are available for the Canadian market.

The packaging industry often refer to : ”The Four R’s”—reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover. It is so important for understanding, measuring, and improving sustainability. This study shows the enormous benefits that reducing or optimizing a package design at the beginning of the process can have throughout its entire life cycle. In addition, America’s plastics makers are working to enhance plastics’ environmental performance after use by increasing recycling and recovery while supporting efforts to prevent litter. We can appreciate the desire to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas, and other pollutants attributed to the environment as a result of the packaging industry. Our packaging designers can work with you to find the right packaging product to fit your needs.  If you are looking for eco-friendly packaging design that fits your product needs, contact Allen Field Inc. today.

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