Sustainable packaging solutions with recycled products

According to a journal by the National Library of Medicine, around 50 per cent of plastics are used for single-use disposable applications, and in the UK, the total use of plastics in both domestic and commercial packaging is about 40kg per person per year. These statistics have been significant drivers in fostering new approaches to reuse and recycling schemes for consumers and businesses alike, as emission schemes outline bold targets for increased sustainability in future decades.

Despite the ongoing development of greener materials, though, many supply chain experts continue to call for a multi-pronged approach to tackling climate change, advocating for both initiatives to innovate in the materials sector and wholesale changes to supply chains and consumer behaviour.

So to help you to understand your material choices and their environmental impact, here are the key packaging material facts. Paper and cardboard A good first step in choosing the primary packaging elements for your business is to assess the main vessels in which your goods will be transported.

For delicate items, bulky products and mixed bundles, the most obvious choice is a high-quality carton of suitable size. Broadly speaking, there are two primary paper types used in the construction of corrugated boards - the basis for carton manufacturing. Originating from the German word for 'strong', Kraft paper is produced from softwood trees, in a process that combines the tree pulp and sulfur to create a lightweight, high-strength material that's ideal for packaging.

Test liner, on the other hand, is a recycled material created by combining two paper sheets, producing a double layer that's ideally suited to the inner lining of cartons. Typically, test liner is a more cost-effective solution than Kraft paper. To accompany your cardboard packaging, consider paper document wallets or fluted envelopes.

They're plastic-free, easy to use and made from high-quality, landfill-biodegradable paper, maximising efficiency and simplifying waste management, since they can be bundled with cartons prior to recycling. Plastic While many businesses might be seeking to reduce their plastic use moving forward, plastic can still offer a range of benefits to reduce emissions and save on waste in the long-term.

In the case of transit packaging, plastic provides stability, strength and versatility. Items like plastic pallets are lightweight, hardwearing and highly reusable. Plus they reduce consignment weights and ensure the repositioning of goods is quick and easy.

They're also chemical-resistant and don't require certification for importing and exporting, which is often the case for conventional wooden pallets. When it comes to filling and packing, plastic can sometimes be a problematic choice, though, since products like polystyrene loose-fill cannot be recycled and take between 400 and 500 years to break down (biodegradable void-fill is a reliable, sustainable alternative). But items like polythene mailers, polypropylene bags and PET (polyethylene terephthalate) tape offer durability and, in most cases, full recyclability, allowing for quick disposal in standard recycling systems.

Reusing your plastic packaging Aside from being a reliable option for protecting products, plastic bubble wrap is an ideal choice for keeping hot goods warm and chilled goods cold. Simply line your bags or containers with this versatile material to help maintain your food's temperature in transit.

Plastic shopping bags can also serve a secondary purpose, by housing food waste and separating travel essentials for those on the go. A note for home recyclers Excess food debris in recyclable containers often results in items being deemed contaminated, resulting in their ending up in landfill.

To prevent this, be sure to clean your packaging as thoroughly as possible before setting it aside for disposal.

For more information on sustainable, cost-effective packaging ideas for businesses, visit, phone allpack on 01543 396700, or email [email protected] to find out how we can identify money-saving opportunities within your business using our expert consulting services.