With businesses confronting material shortages and criticism on wastefulness, new materials and solutions to the ever growing concern of environmental impact have become paramount. We have looked at how brands are intensifying their innovation efforts to meet this demand and demonstrating that it doesn’t have to compromise design.
Closing the loop
Packaging made from the manufacturing waste of the product inside forms an exciting premise that lends a high-end aura to an essentially frugal approach.
Finland’s leading bakery Frazer have developed a bread bag made from oat hulls derived from the oat milling process – a completely unique innovation. In a similar vein, South-Korean paper manufacturer Hansol created an eco-friendly packaging material from the by-product of cocoa beans, a waste stream of its project partner Lotte Confectionery.
Comparable innovations also repurpose organic waste into board-like materials, such as Thai rice brand Srisang Dao’s box incorporating rice chaff and Taiwanese Onebook Design Studio’s tea packaging made from used tea leaves.
NY brand Loli Beauty’s latest face mask comes in a box made from mycelium and an upcycled hemp sleeve that are both garden compostable.
Room for Mushrooms
Packaging that is protective and sanitary yet sustainable is a clear focus for brands as consumers order more breakable items and spoilable food products to their homes. Slim, lightweight, letterbox-friendly shipping packs have also gained enhanced relevance.
Eco Protective Packs: UK mycelium packaging producer The Magic Mushroom Company (MMC) creates a lightweight packaging material using agricultural waste products including hemp, hops, corn and timber. These are combined with mycelium, and then ‘grown’ into shape using 3D moulds before being baked – a process patented by US company Ecovative. The material is home-biodegradable and decomposes in 40 days in soil or 180 days in water. Similarly, French high-end candle brand Amen has collaborated with biomaterials start-up Grown to create grown-to-measure mycelium protective packs to deliver its breakable items.
Mycelium is also enabling a luxurious sense of volume that is eco-friendly to boot. British non-alcoholic spirits brand Seedlip has incorporated the naturally shock-absorbing material in the outer box of its festive gift set.
Challenging the norm
Addressing The Cardboard Shortage
The rapid increase in deliveries has resulted in a global cardboard shortage – compounded by the shutdown of in-person retail and hospitality, where cardboard is recycled more rapidly compared to domestic settings (SHD Logistics, 2021). Corrugated cardboard has become so sought after, it’s been nicknamed ‘beige gold’.
Graspap, a paper fibre made from grass by German material manufacturer Creapaper. The tree-free material – which can be used in place of corrugated cardboard – uses up to 75% less carbon dioxide than virgin wood pulp.
Favini’s Crush papers replace 15% of the wood pulp with by-products from fruits, herbs and nuts for colour.
The Kind collection by Italian manufacturer Icma consists of 100% recycled paper produced without chlorine or optical bleaching. The papers, which have a natural brown or black verso, have not been de-inked, but do come in fresh pastel tones.
Replacing bubble wrap, Estonian start-up Woola’s Bubble Wool is a lightweight, water repellent, shock absorbent and home compostable material made from wool unsuitable for textile production.
US-based Cruz Foam, makes protective biofoam from shellfish waste that can be biodegraded and reformed for reuse.
Ikea Russia’s new protective paper pulp filler material, inspired by egg cartons, is used in place of air-filled plastic bags or plastic padding to protect its fragile homeware items.
TemperPack’s raft of sustainable products for chilled delivery includes Climacell, a recyclable insulating box-liner material made from paper and corn starch. The material can keep the box’s contents below 0° for up to 55 hours. It has also developed EnviroGel, a sustainable alternative to ice packs (which normally contain ammonium nitrate) made from organic, plant-based materials. The gel inside can be poured down the sink or used to fertilise plants, while the outer film can be recycled.
Alternatives to plastic
Another promising development is the use of paper for constructing drinks bottles, since its readily recycled in many countries. Many manufacturers are racing to develop the paper bottle of the future.
German-made Trebodur is a new material for multipack beer can holders, entirely made from spent brewers’ grain.
UK sustainable packaging company Frugalpac’s Frugal Bottle, a recyclable wine bottle made from 94% recycled paperboard also makes the case for paper in drinks packaging.
Mars Wrigley UK announced a trial in Tesco stores to pilot a new material made from cocoa bean shells for promotional displays – a global first for the confectionery category. The new material, dubbed ‘Bean Board’, is made from 70% recycled paper and 30% waste cocoa bean shells. The displays have been developed in conjunction with Medoola, ECOR, and strategic display production partner DS Smith.
Across the catering and hospitality industry, we have seen a trend towards making operations more environmentally friendly.
One of the latest emerging trends is Bagasse Material, a highly valuable renewable resource being widely used to produce disposable cups, plates, bowls and takeaway containers.
Bagasse (ba-gas) is plant fibre. More specifically, it is the fibrous matter by-product left over from the production of sugarcane. This biowaste product was typically just disposed of, thrown away or burnt as it had no practical application.
London-based engineering start-up Notpla identified seaweed as the base material for its eco-friendly packaging solution Ooho. This edible and flexible material, billed as the “water you can eat”, is used mainly to store drinks and condiments.
Milk is one of the most consumed thing in the world, it’s fair to say – and now, scientists say it can be made to create plastic. A protein found in cow’s milk called casein is commonly used to make the material.
What does this mean for your brand?
Think Beyond Paper
Most sustainable initiatives are prioritising paper as the key material alternative to polluting plastics. Shrewd brands will invest in non-virgin paper and other more sustainable alternatives such as paper-like material made from seaweed, mycelium and waste stream by-products from the food industry. Reassuring consumers of the reliability of these new materials is key to its success – we can help you deliver this.
Quick clever and forward-thinking independent brands reveal how successful product and packaging ventures start with a radical rethink. If you can make one big change towards sustainability in product and pack, you will impress the growing consumer base choosing to shop from retailers and brands with a guilt-free packaging story. Do you need help viewing consumer behaviour from a different perspective? Let’s discuss how to approach this.
New Recycled and upcycled material innovations ease the elimination of virgin materials. Social plastic and closed loop formats are particularly sympathetic propositions, so scrutinise waste streams for by-products that can be repurposed into packs. Prioritise the addition of recycled contents in preparation for upcoming policies such as the British plastic packaging tax, taking effect in 2022. Do you know what impact the 2022 planned tax policy is going to have on your business?
Sustainable refil packs
Suppliers of high-performance flexible packaging is our expertise with sustainability commitment.
As a leading producer of both paper and flexible plastic solutions, we are uniquely positioned to meet our customers’ demands with our broad range of sustainable packaging
Turning obsolete and abandoned fishing nets, ropes and post-use rigid plastic that would previously have ended up in the ocean or on landfill, by mechanically recycling them into high-quality raw plastic material: Green Plastic.
Compostable and biodegradable netting made from beech tree pulp and supplied by Austrian packaging company VPZ is being used for citrus products.
Packaging reimagined by nature. Cruz Foam have created a bio-sustainable plastic alternative, utilising a naturally occurring waste product from the seafood industry.
UK mycelium packaging producer The Magic Mushroom Company (MMC) creates a lightweight packaging material using agricultural waste products including hemp, hops, corn and timber.
A proven, patented and scalable packaging technology company ready to be deployed globally and promising to herald in an exciting and greener future.
Paboco are changing this industry for good by creating recyclable paper bottles for your favourite products. Designed for circularity using renewable materials and with the long-term goal to harmlessly degrade if accidentally put in nature.
Silver-based technology is used in proprietary high dilution formulations making it the most effective antimicrobial coating solution for print and packaging on the market.
TerraCycle is Eliminating the Idea of Waste® by recycling the “non-recyclable.” Whether it’s coffee capsules from your home, pens from a school, or plastic gloves from a manufacturing facility, TerraCycle can collect and recycle almost any form of waste.
Compostable and biodegradable netting made from beech tree pulp and supplied by Austrian packaging company VPZ is being used for citrus products.. We channel our creativity into new packaging concepts that contribute towards a better environment. As a result, we are market leaders in the development and sale of biogenic packaging.
To keep plastic out of nature and in the economic cycle for as long as possible. Today’s consumer goods become tomorrow’s raw materials.
US-based, TemperPack was created to help the world waste less. A materials engineering and manufacturing company, looking to disrupt the cold-chain shipping industry.
Leading packaging innovator, Parkside, has collaborated with high-tech surface protection suppliers, TouchguardTM, to launch a new packaging solution incorporating an antibacterial coating. The new development enables brands to protect consumers against potentially harmful bacteria.
French packaging company Albéa offers the world’s largest range of beauty and personal care packaging.
Sulapac® can be processed with existing plastic product machinery, making the switch from conventional plastic to an eco-friendly alternative easier than you might think.
BioPak champion the transition to a circular economy with industry-leading products made from plants. Our product range is predominantly made from renewable materials and certified compostable.
Their desire to give back to society through our dedication to educating, and increase global awareness of affordable environmental solutions. There plastic additive contains cutting edge technology that when added to to the production of polymers, rapidly enhances the biodegradation of plastic products.
Packing & Delivery alternatives
The hexagonal cellular structure of Flexi-Hex means it can wrap a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, including glass.
Paper packaging solutions to sustainably protect garments and other products throughout the supply chain. https://www.flexi-hex.com Goal is a clear one; to remove plastic from the packaging industry and raise awareness of the environmental threats currently facing our world.
The Grasspaper Company. Creapaper produces grass fibre raw material and grasspaper products for the retail, paper and packaging industry, helping to reduce plastic-pollution and CO2 emissions on a global scale.