Eco-friendly packaging alternatives for your business
6 min. read
With 61% of UK consumers claiming to have limited their use of single-use plastic, some businesses are seeking alternatives to plastics, especially in packaging materials.
In addition, new policies like the Plastics Packaging Tax will see prices increased for recycled plastics while existing legislation requiring retailers to charge for single-use plastic bags for example, is designed to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in circulation.
Transitioning to sustainable packaging alternatives doesn't need to be complicated.
The materials below are just some alternatives to plastic packaging out there that are considered environmentally friendly.
While standard bubble wrap can protect fragile items in shipping, it is made from plastic which makes it environmentally unfriendly.
Paper bubble wrap on the other hand is fully recyclable and biodegradable and offers good protection in packaging.
Widely used in the packaging industry, corrugated cardboard is a strong and lightweight material that consists of three layers of brown paper made from wood and paper fibres.
96% of corrugated packaging can be recycled up to ten timesLink opens in a new window into new packaging materials after its initial use.
In addition, it claims more corrugated packaging is recovered for recycling than any other packaging material.
Paper tape is a sustainable packaging alternative to plastic tape that’s commonplace.
Being recyclable and biodegradable, it is eco-friendly and various types of paper tape packaging are available, such as Kraft reinforced tape and Gummed Paper Tape.
Bioplastics are packaging materials created from natural resources such as corn starch.
They can be made from other sources and are sustainable to produce.
The sugars in corn starch can be bioengineered to create environmentally sustainable materials such as PLA (Polylactic Acid).
PLA can be developed as a packaging material, as well as textiles and engineering plastics, according to ScienceDirect.
Inflatable air pillows are a good eco-friendly alternative to plastic foam peanuts or bubble wrap for filling voids in boxes or cushioning packed items.
Made of 100% recycled materials, they can be re-used, recycled, and are even biodegradable.
Like corn, mushroom and fungi are natural resources that can be used as a packaging alternative.
It's grown using Mycelium, making it a readily-available raw material and one that can be readily recycled due to its biodegradability.
Wool is an incredibly versatile material that's a good alternative to plastic-based packaging.
It’s totally compostable and fully biodegradable, and an efficient insulator too, meaning that temperature-sensitive products are protected.
The seaweed-based packaging industry is expected to experience a growth rate of 16% between 2020-2027, according to Data Bridge Market Research.
It found that the expansion of environmental and sustainable initiatives is driving this growth.
New, naturally biodegradable materials such as Notpla, which are made from seaweed and plants, can be used as an alternative to plastic packaging.
Bagasse is created as a by-product of sugarcane processing and can be adapted to fit a variety of packaging requirements, particularly for food delivery and transportation.
It is greaseproof and waterproof, which makes it ideal for use in takeaway and food storage containers.
A versatile form of alternative packaging because they can be moulded into different shapes and forms, Palm leaves are taken from the areca palm plant and used to produce packaging that can be naturally biodegradable.
Palm leaves are often used as a material for tableware, such as an alternative to plastic plates and bowls.
Silberboard paper is both recyclable and biodegradable. It can be used across various industries for packaging purposes, such as food and pharmaceuticals and is an environmentally friendly alternative to laminated metallised polyester films.
Milk plastic may be a viable alternative to plastic packaging. It is based on milk protein and is water-soluble and biodegradable due to its casein molecules.
A chain of casein molecules can form a polymer, which can be moulded into plastic shapes.
Already in use as containers for products such as wine, pet food, and laundry detergent, Seed phytonutrients shower-friendly paper made by Ecologic Brands consists of a water-resistant, recyclable outer shell made from recycled cardboard and newspaper.
An inner pouch, which houses the product, is made from recyclable plastic but uses 60% less material than regular plastic bottles.
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