WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE PROTECTIVE PACKAGING?
If your business transports delicate, fragile or particularly high value products such as electronics, automotive parts, or highly breakable goods – then protective packaging is a must to prevent the expensive losses that would result from any breakages.
But transit packaging that provides good product protection is also important in goods delivery generally, especially when those goods are to be sold in physical stores or provided directly to end consumers in e-commerce operations.
No one is going to want to pay full price for a product in a damaged or dirty box, even if they eventually put that box in the recycling anyway, because first impressions are important. If it looks like no care has been taken of the box in transit, it implies the product inside that packaging may be compromised too.
Packaging for protection
Despite the best efforts of everyone involved in their delivery, sometimes packages get dropped – that’s a fact.
Protective packaging – from corner, face and edge protectors to custom inserts and void fill – exists to stop a dropped package from resulting in ruined goods that might then be refused or returned by dissatisfied customers.
Before ‘sustainability’ belated became a high priority on the business agenda, protective packaging tended to mean expanded polystyrene (EPS) or polyethylene (PE) foam. Cut into sheets, formed into ‘peanuts’ or bespoke moulded to the contours of different items, both provided a cheap, lightweight and incredibly effective solution guaranteed to withstand all but the most severe of impacts.
But this convenience came at a price – to the environment.
Sustainable packaging: The problem with polystyrene
EPS and PE foam are both effectively single-use plastics. They are very difficult to recycle into new products, with very few facilities in the UK having the capability, meaning they are not accepted for recycling by the vast majority of local authorities. This results in them contributing to the around 1.8 million tonnes of plastic packaging that is sent to landfill, littered or illegally dumped in the UK every year.
Most plastics – including EPS – do not biodegrade, but instead very slowly break down over thousands of years into small fragments known as microplastics which contaminate the soil and leak into water courses, harming wildlife and eco-systems in the process.
Polystyrene production also contributes to the depletion of the earth’s natural resources and is extremely polluting. Plastics production is oil and gas intensive and, although EPS foam is comprised of 95% air, many of the chemicals used in its manufacture are toxic to the environment.
Sustainable packaging: The alternatives
Fortunately for today’s businesses increasingly concerned about the impact of their operations on people and planet, more sustainable protective packaging is out there.
PALLITE® Group have implemented Eco-Friendly materials into our products from the very beginning, developing sustainable packaging solutions that consider the bigger picture and cause as little harm as possible during their manufacture, use and disposal.
From their basic function and use in the supply chain, to what happens to them once they have reached the end of their useful lives, we consider at the outset the entire lifecycle of our packaging products to ensure they have as little environmental impact as possible.
Sustainable protective packaging: a checklist
Businesses looking to find a sustainable protective packaging solution may wish to use The Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s definition, which identifies sustainable packaging as:
- Beneficial, safe and healthy throughout its life cycle
- Cost effective and offering equivalent performance in the marketplace
- Sourced, manufactured, transported and recycled using renewable energy
- Using renewable or recycled source materials where possible
- Manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices
- Being made from materials that are healthy in all possible end-of-life scenarios
- Able to be effectively recovered and used in closed loop cycles
- Optimising materials and energy use through its design.
Introducing EcoLITE by PALLITE®: Sustainable protective packaging at its best
EcoLITE is our range of sustainable protective packaging. Drawing its protective properties from the same honeycomb cell technology that features in all our sustainable packaging products, it offers lightweight, cost-effective protection for products in transit while being environmentally friendly to manufacture and use, and 100% recyclable after use.
Made from recycled paper and PVA glue – sold on pallets by the sheet or cut to bespoke designs, EcoLITE’s flexibility and wide range of uses – from void filler to corner and edge protection, for custom inserts and as a complete wraparound solution – make it a viable sustainable solution for businesses in a wide range of industries.
Automotive – Transporting car parts from complete engines to the smallest, most delicate of electronics.
Furniture – As a space-filler in flat-pack packaging, as an insert to fix and protect pre-constructed items in transit, or as an eco-friendly material in manufacturing the likes of headboards, filing cabinets and dressers.
Engineering – As a sustainable alternative to polystyrene and foam for packaging mechanical parts and electronic components.
Textiles – Stackable drilled boards for safe transportation of wound coils of different materials.
Home appliances – As edge or corner protection for white goods, countertop appliances and HVAC units, as well as for bracing and protective void creation, and as a wraparound solution.
Glass – As an environmentally friendly alternative to polystyrene or foam inserts to securely fix and protect fragile items.
Consumer goods – Providing the sustainable packaging solution that customers increasingly want to see, and that they can easily recycle at kerbside after use.
Found throughout nature, honeycomb structures provide lightweight, space-efficient cushioning to absorb shocks, making them a viable alternative to EPS and PE foams that won’t break the bank, or harm the world we live in.