The different types of packaging #2

Environmental
Logistics
Packaging
Written by
Coline M.
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7
February 2024
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2
min
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In recent years, the packaging industry has experienced significant growth, and is now at the center of consumers' increasingly demanding concerns. 

In this series of 4 articles, we will explore the packaging sector, examine current solutions, compare them and highlight their limitations.

The different types of packaging

Tertiary packaging was originally designed for one-off use. It was often made from non-recyclable materials, with harmful consequences for the environment. In response to these challenges, many companies have recently adopted new practices aimed at reducing their ecological impact. 

In particular, they have begun to reflect on their choice of materials, favouring the use of renewable and sustainable materials.

Thanks to products designed to be recycled, in ten years the recovery rate for used paper and cardboard products has risen from 46% to 82% (tonnage of PCR recovered/ apparent consumption of paper and cardboard), according to a press conference given by ADEME. However, there are still many materials that cannot be recycled or that would require major investment to process.

The emergence of eco-designed packaging has paved the way for new packaging innovations. In this article, we explore seven of these new innovations that have marked this transition towards more sustainable packaging.

Biodegradable and compostable bubble wrap: 

Biodegradable and compostable bubble wrap: 

This packaging is a flexible, waterproof, and tear-proof option, providing optimum protection for products during transport. They are ideal for sending small or lightweight items. Designed without plastic, they decompose naturally in less than 6 months. However, it is essential to compost them in controlled composting centers, as this process takes around three months.

Bioplastic packaging:

Bioplastic packaging, made from renewable resources such as plants, is currently undergoing significant expansion. This recyclable packaging breaks down more quickly than traditional plastic and has a lower environmental impact. However, they are not widely used for parcels, as they are much less robust for transporting goods.

Recycled corrugated Kraft boxes:

Recycled corrugated Kraft boxes:

These are generally made from paper pulp from responsibly managed forests and factories. Sturdy and environmentally friendly, these boxes are available in different sizes, suitable for small to medium-sized items. Recyclable, biodegradable, and FSC® certified, they help reduce the pressure on resources. 

However, it is important to note that recycling cardboard is not as environmentally friendly as you might think, as it has a significant impact on the greenhouse effect.

According to a study by ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency), recycled cardboard emits even more CO2 than cardboard produced from virgin material. Not to mention the fact that cardboard is not an infinitely recyclable material. It can only be generated five times, and with each cycle, around 30% of the volume of cardboard produced is lost...

Wooden transport packaging:

Wooden pallets and crates are specially designed to facilitate the handling and transport of bulky products. Wood is used for preservation, logistics, and storage.

Wooden transport packaging:

Banana fiber paper packaging boxes: 

Banana fiber paper offers an environmentally-friendly alternative to wood, recycling agricultural waste to produce rigid, durable, and recyclable packaging boxes. Made from agricultural residues, these packaging boxes are highly resistant, flexible, and recyclable. Their durability can be extended over several years, provided they are not exposed to moisture or soiled.

Reusable parcels or pouches: 

Reusable parcels or pouches: 

These are often made from recycled fabrics or advertising tarpaulins, offering an eco-friendly, reusable option. Their environmental impact is optimal compared to products that are simply recyclable.

By returning them to the manufacturing company, reuse is encouraged, reducing waste production and limiting the carbon footprint associated with recycling. However, the materials used in the design of this packaging do not allow for numerous uses, requiring regular washing to keep them clean and usable, after which they must be recycled.

Reusable and intelligent packaging: 

Reusable and intelligent packaging stands out for its ability to offer additional services thanks to on-board intelligence and integrated sensors, opening up new possibilities in the field of sustainable and innovative packaging.

In conclusion, the constant evolution in the field of packaging testifies to the industry's growing awareness of environmental issues. Advances such as the rise of eco-designed packaging and the emergence of sustainable alternatives demonstrate a growing commitment to reducing the ecological footprint.

In the next article, you will discover the limits of these existing solutions in relation to new packaging.

Read the previous article: The packaging industry

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