Despite recent furore in the UK press about excessive plastic packaging waste and the impact on the environment, Antalis Packaging has been quick to assert that paper packaging, when used efficiently, offers a viable and green solution and shouldn’t be categorised in the same unsustainable bracket
Recent years have seen the UK’s plastic packaging plight gain pace, with the government committing to eliminating all avoidable plastic waste by 2043 as a part of a wider plan to tackle the 3.7 million tonnes of plastic waste generated each year.
At the same time, consumer awareness around plastic packaging has reached a tipping point, with 9 out of 10 people calling for plastic-free aisles'in supermarkets and 84% admitting they were concerned about the amount of plastic packaging used on gifts during the 2017 festivities.
For some consumers, however, concerns around packaging have extended to all forms, leading to misconceptions around the sustainability of paper-based options – an issue that Antalis Packaging states the industry must tackle.
Scott Day, ‘in-the-box’ Packaging Expert at Antalis Packaging, comments: “As the packaging waste issue continues to gain momentum in the media and with consumers alike, it is vitally important that paper-based options are not tarred with the same brush as their typically perceived less environmentally friendly plastic counterparts."
“Despite some perceptions that all packaging is wasteful and unnecessary, the reality is that paper-based packaging can not only provide the same protection but is also easily recyclable which can significantly reduce the amount of litter that goes to landfill."
“In fact, new research shows that in the EU more paper-based packaging is recycled than any other packaging material combined."
"What’s more, in the UK and Europe, the collection of packaging is hugely successful with more than 80% collected for recycling, meaning that an area of board the size of Greater London is prevented from going to landfill every 4 months.”
For Antalis though, the sustainable packaging dilemma goes far beyond paper versus plastic, but requires a new mindset and an innovative approach to specification and use.
One huge issue, for example, remains in the excessive and unnecessary use of plastic and paper packaging, which if addressed correctly could significantly reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill or in the environment.
Smarter and more sustainable approaches to packaging should also be considered, such as the Geami WrapPak System, an ecofriendly alternative to bubble wrap, and Padpak, an innovative compact system that makes 100% recyclable void fill, could make a huge difference.
Scott adds: “Inherently, packaging is incredibly complex and there are so many different factors and considerations for businesses looking to take a more sustainable approach; from the choice of material and packing method, through to the route of delivery."
“For those businesses unsure of where to start, we offer a free Smart Audit during which our experts will review your current packaging materials and procedures and suggest ways you can improve everything from your green credentials through to the customer experience.”