You may have noticed that plastic packaging has been in the news recently and some products have even been banned. Many retailers like Co-op and Tesco have publicly spoken about their efforts to reduce plastic in their packaging. These are not the only retailers that want to make changes, we have seen a huge increase in the number of requests for more eco-friendly packaging.
When it comes to eco-friendly packaging it can be hard to understand what the best material is to use, along with what goes where and how long things take to break down. So, let us break it down for you.
Recycling is the process of converting used materials into something new, this keeps them from being dumped in a landfill. However, there is only a certain number of times you can recycle a product. For example, plastic and paper can only be recycled a few times before it becomes unusable, whereas others such as glass, metal and aluminium can be recycled endlessly.
Over 37% of people admit they don’t always know if a product can be recycled or not. A recent study shows that 2/3rds of people recycle as often as they can however most feel they have put them in the incorrect bins or containers.
Retailers and manufacturers can help customers by including clearer recycling information on their packaging or switch to reusable packaging like boxes and mailing bags that can be used for exchanges and returns.
When something is biodegradable it means it can be broken down naturally by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi under the correct temperatures. It is hard to say how long products will take to break down. However biodegradable plastics take around three to six months to fully decompose – compared to the many years plastics can take. You can already see why eco-friendly is a better option.
Some plastics such as biodegradable bags require specific conditions to break down and may cause harmful greenhouse emissions when left in a landfill. So, when recycling please take care into where you place different products.
Compostable products are made from natural materials such as plants, and decompose fully into “compost” without producing toxic residue as they break down. To be classed as a compostable product you must meet all the requirements defined in The European Standard EN 13432.
Hopefully this has helped you establish the difference between eco-friendly packaging, and non eco-friendly packaging. Head over to our website and take a look at which eco friendly products we hold in stock.