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How Sustainable Films Food Packaging is Taking over Plastic Films?

Films Food Packaging

Consumer Goods and Retail | Sep, 2022

Packaging materials account for approximately 65% of the global solid waste. Out of the total 6.3 billion tons of plastic waste generated over the past seven decades, only 9% has been recycled, 12% has been incinerated, and remaining strands either on landfills, or in the aquatic ecosystems. The plastic pollution caused by tremendous use of single-use plastic films, which are neither eco-friendly nor recyclable are creating graving concerns for our environment. The annual plastic waste in oceans could exceed more than 53 million metric tons per year by 2030 across the world, according to a report by National Academy of Sciences.

Several industries in the food & beverage, pharmaceuticals, textiles, etc. rely on plastics such as Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), primarily for packaging, that stay for a longer duration without decomposing. Concerns around the generation of micro-and nano-plastics are also becoming prevalent since the human exposure to these toxins through food packaging can lead to an array of health problems Hence, many big players in the modern food and beverage industry are implementing changes to make packaging more eco-friendly for many reasons, including corporate social responsibility, lower carbon footprints, and reduce waste. Moreover, sustainable packaging has been rapidly becoming a big selling point for many brands as consumers are being more aware of the environmental hazards of the plastic pollution.

Many new food packaging technologies are being developed that are formulated with natural compounds by substituting synthetic/chemical antimicrobial and antioxidant agents. Eco-friendly packaging is often made from bioplastics or plant-based extracts such as wheat, wood, or bamboo, which are free of any hazardous or synthetic chemicals. Smart packaging is a game changer in reducing and eliminating food wastage as it offers many advantages of manufacturers as well as consumers. Active packaging, intelligent packaging, and connected packaging are three kinds of smart packaging being employed by companies to reduce food wastage, maintain food safety, and digitize the food supply chain. Active packaging reduces plastic pollution by the incorporation of biodegradable edible packaging layers with good oxygen and grease-barrier properties. Intelligent packaging enables monitoring of the food environment inside and outside the package, which allows the onsite detection of unsafe food products and thus reduce food wastage.

Walmart Launches Circular Connector- A Database of Packaging Innovations

In 2016, Walmart embraced the idea of using 100% recyclable packaging for its private brands, with the goal of reaching the mark by 2025. In 2019, the retail giant shifted its focus to incorporate reusable and industrially compostable packaging in the mix and utilize at least 17% of post-consumer recycled content for its private brands. By 2022, Walmart has managed to reach 55% of its overall packaging goal, however reducing the amount of material for any physical item has also become a big focus for the company. The company’s single-use macaroni and cheese containers are made from fiber-based cartons that are eco-friendly and compostable. The company has also eliminated the small plastic windows in some packaging, which let consumers peek inside the item, instead placing images on paper versions. In April 2022, the company launched Circular Connector initiative to bridge the gap between companies searching for more sustainable packaging ideas and those that offer them. The platform will help accelerate packaging innovations and their quick implementation, which could enable everyone to move faster towards waste reduction. Recently, the U.S. Plastics Pact collaborated with Walmart’s Circular Connector to ensure that business keep plastic packaging in the economy and out of the environment by eliminating problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging and taking other actions.