When a packaging company designs for sustainability, it isn't just the package itself that they need to consider—it's what goes in that package. Plastic packaging should discourage waste of both itself and the product inside, or else it can create environmental problems far outside the landfill. A prime example of this is food waste. According to the Global Methane Initiative, food waste in a landfill produces methane gas. The methane produced from food waste alone is more dangerous than carbon dioxide emissions from every car on the road! Factor in that 1/4 of all purchased food gets thrown away, and you have a serious problem on your hands. So what's a packaging company to do?
What savvy packaging companies focus on now more than ever is convenience in their food packaging solutions. For example, airtight plastic packaging makes food last longer, whether it's bought at the store or brought home from a restaurant in a takeout container. Sealing and resealing are both big priorities in the industry, including plastic packaging solutions like easy-open, resealable bags and hard plastic containers. Everything from store-bought mashed potatoes and deli meats to pet food comes in resealable plastic containers, cutting back on the amount of food that spoils and has to be thrown away.
Innovating Ergonomic Designs
Keeping food fresh isn't the only priority for a packaging company—it's getting it out of the package. When plastic packaging for food products makes it too difficult to access the product inside, it gets thrown away and wasted. For example, condiment containers that trap their contents and prevent easy dispensing get thrown away before they're empty. Containers that are too difficult to open and close frustrate consumers who can't get to what's inside. Innovative packaging companies experiment with how different types of plastic and creative packaging designs make it easier to access those hard-to-reach morsels, helping consumers cut back on the amount of food that ends up in the trash. More than 20 percent of the world's methane gas emissions come from landfills, but with continual improvements in plastic packaging, that number may soon be reduced.