Eco friendly innovative packaging solutions
Eco friendly innovative packaging solutions

Packaging Innovations 2022 - The Four Most Interesting

Needless to say, we’re quite interested in the packaging world becoming environmentally friendly – and not just for our own gain (we do sell innovative, eco-friendly packaging solutions, after all) but because the world needs these solutions.

With ever-increasing natural disasters, ever-increasing awareness of species extinction, and evermore-detailed studies on the pervasiveness of and damage caused by plastics, the earth needs a break. And it’s no good anymore to assume it’s a problem for the next generation to solve – these are things happening right now, the world over.

As similarly exponential as the changes to climates & environments, the production of plastics has skyrocketed in the last few decades: nearly half of all plastic manufactured ever has been produced since the year 2000. What’s worse, 40% of plastic produced globally is single use!

It’s precisely because single-use plastics for packaging are such an issue that we’ve focused on reducing the damage caused by them. After all, we can’t single-handedly change supply chains and global trade, but we can mitigate their impact.

So what are some great innovations of last year?

ReCIRCLE – Circular Food Packaging Economy

Swiss startup ReCIRCLE has begun producing reusable, leak-proof takeaway containers.

The key here is in a circular ecosystem that works similarly to deposit buy-ins: ReCIRCLE sells the containers to partner restaurants and cafés, who then sell them onto customers, who can then return them to the outlets when purchasing new meals or get their deposit back.

This harkens back to the “olden days” somewhat – where it was quite common to reuse containers. A greater uptake in these circular packaging systems will save millions of single-use containers from landfill!

Happier Beauty – Sustainable Oral Hygiene

In a similar vein, Happier Beauty is making oral health less wasteful through reducing the use of plastic. Toothpaste tubes account for a huge amount of plastic and, while recyclable, are more difficult to recycle fully than the aluminium tubes used developed by Happier Beauty.

They use an endearing “key” that slots into a space at one end of the tube – you can then turn this key to wind the tube down and squeeze out the toothpaste. A neat solution!

LAM’ON – Plastic-free Lamination

Bulgarian startup LAM’ON have developed a fully compostable, plastic-free lamination material that’s derived from corn! It’s still being pilot tested but has promising knock-on benefits for the whole of the packaging & print industry.
Lamination is one of the most difficult hurdles to recyclability – because it’s so hard to delaminate a protective cover from, say, paper packaging, it often means that it goes straight to landfill. While the paper here isn’t such an issue, adding plastic to the ground adds up quickly.

Internet of Packaging

With the growth of integrated tech in the last two decades, smartphones have become ubiquitous – which enables lots of opportunities for better two-way communication between companies and their customers.

Technology such as QR codes, smart labels, and RFID can all go together to create a deeper connection between customers and the products they use and rely on. A cynical take here would assume that this simply means more opportunities for marketing – but more direct engagement with brands and the actual packaging of goods enables a deeper understanding of how products, packaging, supply chains, and demand all fit together.

We say this because the problems of packaging waste aren’t binary – it’s not solely a problem for industry to address and simultaneously not a problem that can only be solved by changing demand. So collaborative engagement can help solve these issues much faster than isolated focus groups and design guesses can.

Ultimately, greater communication between manufacturers and consumers can also result in much better products.

Let’s talk about innovating your packaging

We’ve been leading the way with innovative, sustainable paper honeycomb core packaging for decades – if you’d like to ditch plastic and make use of beautifully-printed, all-recyclable stock, let’s talk!

13 February 2023