Future packaging

Packaging must change. Not a should, could or a maybe. It must.

220 million tonnes of non-biodegradable plastic is produced each year. During that time over one million sea birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals die from exposure to plastic.

Bags, bottles, tin cans and synthetics are designed to can make our lives easier. They are durable and withstand extreme temperatures. However, with the high technology invested in these materials they will not break down naturally. So when we place them in a garbage tip the air moisture, soil and
climate cannot break them down into the surrounding land naturally.

Although it’s not just the wildlife and ocean biomes that are being affected. A process called outgassing occurs when plastic is exposed to heat and it pollutes the air by emitting gases and toxic pollutants into the atmosphere and water supplies. One toxic pollutants is “Bisphenol A”, which is found in water bottles, food containers and hard plastics. A 2007 study by the Environmental Working Group showed that low doses of “Bisphenol A” can cause insulin resistance to humans and interfere with contraception. This toxic has be often found in water supplies, caused by it leaching into human
water resources.

So what might packaging look like in the future? A government strategy has recently been introduced called “Making the most of Packaging”, aimed to minimalize the environmental impact of packaging, but still allowing for the function of protecting the product. Part of this government strategy involves the UK government working with varying delivery bodies and industries to enable packaging to be designed in 10 years’ time, by using the smallest amount of materials where possible. The government states they are pushing re-usability, recyclability or recovery to be considered as standard when
designing packaging. The packaging industry will be facing rising pressures from the manufactures, governments and supply chain companies, to reduce costs, cut wastes, prevent damage and reduce
energy use.

However there are conflicting signals being provided by retailers and especially consumers, by holding back development with a lingering perception that packaging denotes quality. Therefore, consumers have to change this mind-set as this will encourage manufactures to join schemes like the governments “Making the most of Packaging” to end non-biodegradable packaging for good.

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