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Whenever we talk about the sustainable use of plastic, the first thing that comes to our mind is recycling it. In fact, governments have already been taking action to recycle 100% of the plastic produced around the world. However, the number seems to be quite distant because, at present, it was reported that in Europe only 9% of the total plastic produced gets recycled. As compared to the amount of plastic produced around the world, this number does very little help in tackling environmental concerns. According to research in 2018, 360 million tonnes of plastic was produced globally, of which 40% was converted to packaging.
The packaging sector is one of the largest consumers of plastics, where this material seems to be irreplaceable. Plastic has surprisingly reduced the carbon footprint of the packaging sector by preventing food spoilage, reducing CO2 emission during transportation, etc. But we cannot ignore the environmental challenges it has posed, neither can we depend upon recycling as the only solution. We need to build and promote other solutions, talking about which, one of the most effective ways to outperform single-use plastics is reuse packaging.
Also known as returnable packaging, reuse packaging refers to the packaging designed to be used multiple times. Such packaging offers durability, ease of use, and ease of cleaning. These include consumer packages such as beverage containers, zip lock bags, as well as industrial and transport packaging. It helps further reduce the carbon footprint by decreasing the demand for production. Here are some of the main benefits of reusable packaging.
A returnable supply chain can drastically reduce the carbon footprint of a company. For instance, in case your business requires constant shipment of products between manufacturing or factory sites, single-use corrugated packaging will result in accumulated waste material in large volumes in landfills. It will also increase energy consumption in manufacturing. In such situations, reusable packaging helps minimize the use of raw materials, energy, and waste creation. Another major application of single-use plastic is consumer goods. Designing quality packaging for reuse, for instance, zip-lock bags can drastically reduce household plastic waste.
If designed meticulously, returnable packaging can not only reduce raw material consumption but also minimize CO2 emission by facilitating stacking and efficient space sizing during transportation.
Packaging guidelines have also been laid down by certain governments, demoting the use of single-use plastic. The aim of such initiatives is to promote returnable packaging that offers a longer lifespan and can be recycled towards the end of its lifecycle.
Reusable packaging is both environment-friendly and cost-efficient. By reducing the repeated need to manufacture single-use packaging, companies can save the cost of raw material, energy, and labor. Since reusable packaging is designed for repeated use, it is stronger and more durable than single-use packaging. Thus, it prevents damages to the product and reduces losses.
Applications of Reusable Packaging
Reusable packaging has its applications in both commercial and household spectrums. In the commercial arena, it is widely used for delivering ingredients/raw materials to the processing unit, and transporting subcomponents to the facility for assembling.
Another application is the work in process sites where products/materials are constantly transported to different sites or manufacturing units, or even to temporary storage units before processing.
Finished goods, to be transported to consumers, have the same application. These are distributed through distribution networks or directly.
Reusable packaging has unlimited benefits to offer, especially in industrial use where packaging & transportation of raw material, ingredients, and products play a major role. Responsible specialty film producers like Cosmo Films have already taken a step forward to tackle environmental concerns by producing recyclable & reusable, high-quality films. As a world-renowned organization, it has actively promoted sustainability by enabling a circular economy for flexible packaging. Click here to know more about Cosmo Films.
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