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Packaging is a necessary though naturally inefficient part of our everyday lives. It contains and protects most products we use every day, and then just ends up in the trash once the product is removed, generating a significant amount of waste in the process. In order to minimize the amount of material used, decrease the waste created and reduce the impact on the environment, companies have been developing new packaging concepts that will address customers’ sustainability concerns.
In their quest to establish more sustainable packaging for their products, companies along with researchers are testing innovative concepts and prototypes that could soon revolutionize entire market segments. In addition to responsible sourcing methods, greener packaging starts with the materials that will be used in the manufacturing process. Many interesting concepts are in the works and thanks to some ingenious materials, customers can now buy and consume products while disposing of the packaging in an environmentally friendly way. Some of these innovations involve recycled materials (paper, cardboard, boxboard), tree-free materials, compostable materials (mushrooms!) and even edible materials (WikiCell products, a coffee cup made out of a cookie). The goal is always to facilitate and accelerate the reclamation of the packaging (whether through reuse, recycling or composting), thereby shrinking the environmental impact and keeping landfill-bound waste to a minimum.
Facing the increasing trend of eco-friendly behaviors and concerns for environmental protection by consumers, companies have decided to seriously tackle the issue of packaging. In order to stay ahead of the curve and retain their customers, many firms have had to re-think the way they provide products and services, developing a supply chain that fosters green and eco-friendly decisions from start to finish. Though it is too soon to be the norm, recyclable and compostable packaging is slowly making its way into every product category. Assuming consumers approve (and there is little evidence to suggest they won’t), we could see a measurable decrease in the waste generated by all products very soon.
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