In today’s market, it’s difficult to talk about sustainability without price becoming the focus of the conversation. Packaging investment aside – inflation, supply chain challenges, ingredient shortages and more are squeezing margins. With all these variables to consider, where does sustainable packaging fit into the equation?
It may seem easier to say it doesn’t. However, these solutions are more affordable than you think. And with consumer demand and legislation driving the industry forward, now is the right time to invest in eco-friendly packaging. Let’s explore how new solutions create opportunities for competitor differentiation and take a closer look at a few of the sustainable packaging options available in the market today.
The Sustainability Opportunity
A recent study conducted by McKinsey shows that while food safety/hygiene and shelf life remain top priority, the environmental impact of packaging is a growing concern for consumers. The following percentage of U.S. consumers ranked these packaging characteristics with extreme / very strong importance:
- Hygiene and Food Safety: 75%
- Shelf Life: 69%
- Ease of Use: 57%
- Durability: 55%
- Environmental Impact: 39%
Though packaging functionality will always be first in a long list of considerations, growing consumer concern for the environment has created an opportunity for brands to invest in packaging solutions that work harder and provide greater value – like sustainability.
New legislation around sustainability is also pushing the eco-friendly packaging industry forward, resulting in a spectrum of new solutions and technologies. A variety of options are emerging, ensuring there is a solution for every product need that can overcome cost barriers.
Brands that capitalize on sustainable packaging now can position themselves as innovators among their competitors. By showcasing the sustainability of your packaging – on the packaging itself – you can differentiate products on the shelf and demonstrate a willingness to invest in solutions that are better for consumers and the planet.
Introducing the OneEarth Packaging Portfolio
At Great American Packaging, we are committed to helping our customers take advantage of new growth opportunities with sustainable packaging options while staying ahead of changing industry requirements. In June, we launched our OneEarth Packaging portfolio, containing No PFAS Added, Compostable, Recyclable and Plant-Based packaging solutions.
Each packaging option is designed to increase product sustainability, prioritize product integrity and optimize manufacturability. Below we explore the characteristics and benefits of each.
No PFAS Added
PFAS, technically known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of commonly used chemical additives found in many consumer products, including rigid and flexible packaging. Designed to help products be resistant to heat, water, oils, grease and/or stains, their chemical properties also prevent them from breaking down in the environment.
Recent attention from state and federal legislation has created more scrutiny about the use of intentionally added PFAS. At Great American Packaging, we are committed to delivering packaging solutions that meet federal and state regulations such as CA Prop 65 standards. As regulations continue to evolve, we will ensure that our products – and by extension, our customers – remain compliant every step of the way.
Interested in learning more about PFAS and its impact on your business? Check out our free webinar to get up to speed.
Compostable packaging solutions are designed to create zero waste – with end-of-life intended for either home compost or industrial compost conditions. While industrial composting facilities aren’t widespread yet, home compost packaging solutions can have an impact today in your consumers’ backyards.
In addition to supporting the circular economy, these solutions are FDA-certified for food safety, meet the ASTM D6400 standard for compostability and are OK compost HOME certified – meaning these materials meet guidelines for industrial and home composting conditions. Depending on the product, compostable solutions can be on the pricier side, but are ideal for industries where consumers place a financial value on a more immediate environmental impact.
Recyclable packaging solutions are ideal for brands just beginning their sustainability journey. Made with low-density polyethylene (LDPE), these mono-layer films reduce material usage – compared to heavier materials and multi-layer designs. They are also easier to recycle.
Like the industrial composting packaging option, widespread infrastructure to recycle this style of packaging is still being developed. It will, however, be a viable option in the future. These materials are also food safe and have great shelf appeal with highly visual printing.
Regulations around promoting recyclability on your packaging vary by state. It is important to understand the specific regulations of your state before using the chasing arrows symbol or referencing recyclability on your packaging.
Plant-Based & Recyclable
Plant-Based & Recyclable packaging solutions provide a sustainable packaging option with over 50% plant-based content. Blending plant-based content with recyclable content helps to lower the material costs for brand owners. This film blend is ASTM D5511 tested for a proactive end-of-life solution and represents an affordable, eco-friendly option.
Like the home compostable option, this solution allows for a more immediate contribution to the circular economy without requiring a home compost bin. This style is also FDA-certified for food safety and can be used with consumer-packaged goods, as well as fresh and frozen food applications. While Great American Packaging offers fully plant-based solutions, the combination of recyclable and plant-based materials makes this a cost-effective solution.
Why Great American Packaging
At Great American Packaging, we deliver custom packaging solutions that take into consideration our customers’ products, processes, the consumer and the planet. With over 50 years of flexible packaging expertise, and a growing portfolio of sustainable packaging solutions, we have the knowledge and capabilities required to customize an eco-friendly packaging option that meets your unique needs.
Ready to take the next step in your sustainable packaging journey? We’d love to hear from you.
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