Green packaging, sustainable packaging, eco-friendly packaging are just a few of the names to refer to packaging that has been manufactured with consideration of the environment. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition is a leader in promoting environmental packaging. They support packaging materials derived from recycled sources as well as clean and green manufacturing processes.
More companies are now utilizing green packaging in order to minimize the waste materials that pile up in landfills. Some of these manufacturing companies have turned to biodegradable packaging as well which can break down under normal environmental conditions.
Some products that require the use of plastics for packaging now use biodegradable plastics that are made from natural sources such as potatoes, corn and wheat. These plastics are also known as bioplastics, which were engineered to break down easily when exposed to decomposing agents. Choosing products with biodegradable packaging will surely help reduce landfill waste.
A manufacturer may use pre-consumer or post-consumer recycled materials or both. Pre-consumer recycled packaging means that the packaging materials contain some recycled content. These materials may include corrugated cartons, glass, steel, paperboard or some plastics.
Post-consumer recycled content means that the consumer may recycle the packaging after use. Due to the improvements in quality, the availability and the cost advantage, many companies are now using paperboard packaging with post-consumer recycled content. Today over 50% of supermarket packaging contains recycled paperboard.
Today coconut husks are an alternative material to be used for packaging. The husk is strong and has a low water absorption rate. Whole Tree, which was founded by Baylor University in Texas, is now developing coconut composites to serve various purposes. These composites are used for restaurant to-go boxes and other packaging materials. In fact, coconut based packing materials are stronger when compared to conventional packaging. These do not use chemical binders and other additives, making them good compostable materials.
Utilizing coconut husks for environmental packaging also helps in improving the lives of coconut farmers. The Asian and Pacific Coconut Community or APCC, is now gearing towards better awareness on the different uses of coconut trees.
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(2010) Image by Salvatore Vuono