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Flexible Packaging: Do Something Drastic, Cut the Plastic

Flexible Packaging: Do Something Drastic, Cut the Plastic


What’s Changing in Flexible Packaging?

After this boxpandemic, the packaging industry has seen a vast change in terms of requirements and innovations. With everyone sitting at home, the demand for flexible food packaging and sanitizing agents has increased multifold. Home-delivery picked up because that was the only way some could actively receive the necessities. All of a sudden, there was a huge demand in flexible packaging and plastic, as the need for quick food items became more pressing, the demand for easy-to-use food packaging outweighed the need for sustainable or biodegradable containers. Between the demand and supply side, there was a disruption, which led to volatile rates in pricing as suppliers could not keep up with the huge spike in demand. Since then, over the last two years, the market has stabilized itself for the most part, and with it, an insight into the products and services converters provide to their customers, such as hybrid printing and more versatile eco-friendly ink options.  The bottom line: consumers want more choices, more options and more flexibility, they actively look for companies who share their same values – brand loyalty is even more important than it was two years ago. People want to know that the brands they are buying are looking out for the greater good and making some kind of positive change.     

So, What Can We Do?

Manufacturing logistics, storing, warehousing inventory norms, the aging credit supply chain ecosystem has also observed a significant transformation. To meet the desired sustainability target, becoming more aware of not only what we want, but also becoming more knowledgeable in what is needed to remain healthy and safe, and that has taken the industry by storm. When the shift started, there’s still much to learn about sustainable packaging. Good food must come in good packaging, it’s not sure that the food remains safe, but that it also good for the planet This Is something companies should be thinking about, and it starts at the executive level. But how do companies start this process if plastic isn’t what people want, but the innovation just isn’t there to sustain the need?  While there may be concerns of additives or polymers migrating to the food packaging or food product after the plastic is recycled, there are ways to combat these potential negative impacts: For instance, if you’re using multi-layer packaging (MLP), as opposed to rigid packaging, wherein there are different layers of packaging that are difficult to recycle, a better option may be monolayer packaging with high barrio properties. These types of material are easy to recycle without posing problems to the current infrastructure itself. The industry is still working on solving the concern over human health. A possible solution could possibly be using some recycled content – not replacing the entire plastic packaging with one hundred percent recycled content, but at least some recycled material. The types of packaging offer a wide variety of environmental impacts that help increase recycling rates and plastic pollution. These packaging options can extend the shelf life of products and their life cycle. This can be done by either changing the laminal structure, or by sandwiching the recycled content between two intact layer films. Recyclability is a concern, and valid, but it is not necessarily a problem, especially when there seems to be many more solutions to come about.  

Sustainability is the Way to Go

After looking at sustainability in food, what other avenues can potentially be improved upon and explored? Personal care or cosmetics seems to be a good place to start. With government guidelines however, it becomes a tightrope to walk.    The policies set in place somewhat hinder innovation, but they also protect. When the government decides to set very strict guidelines, larger companies can take advantage of this by taking the lead and running with it. It will be easier to see the progress and checks and balances of how these guidelines affect not only the market, but the effect it has on sustainability. This process will take time and much needed expense. The market is still changing and working its way through this somewhat new and uncharted territory. The next step is to determine which chemicals are coming in contact with a particular food item, and finding a scientific and researched way on how to prevent it.  The market is shifting, and with that comes the excitement of a new and unexplored terrain. This isn’t a linear improvement, it will take time, but the potential is there, and it’s only getting stronger. Full sustainability seems to be in flexible packaging future, and the economical and ethical possibilities that come with that, are completely invaluable. Looking to take your flexible packaging to the next level? Sustainability in flexible packaging is possible! We’re here to help. At Arrow Systems, Inc., we can provide you with the best in flexible packaging services. Contact us today for more information!

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