Bioplastics. Biodegradable. Eco-Friendly. We hear these words all the time from our customers seeking the most sustainable packaging solutions. During the last few decades, packaging companies have been able to offer more and more sustainable options and Indepak is no exception. Here are some facts that will help you better understand the types of eco-friendly options you have for your packaging.
Bioplastics: What Does It Mean?
Bioplastics, in a nutshell, are plastic that are created using renewable, bio-based materials, such as starch. Using bioplastics reduces the need for fossil fuels, which is the source of most non-bio-based plastics. These days, everyone is looking for ways to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and searching instead for renewable options.
Biodegradable/Compostable/Recyclable: What’s The Difference?
People often mistakenly believe that all bioplastics will biodegrade or are compostable, but this is not always the case. Bioplastics are plastics that are either produced using bio-based content or plastics that are biodegradable or both. In some cases, your bioplastic might feature bio-based content, but it doesn’t biodegrade. In some cases, a bioplastic might be compostable, but this also is not always the case. And, in some cases, a bioplastic is not recyclable.
Biodegradable plastics are those which, over a given period of time, will biodegrade. Often people believe that biodegradable plastics can be placed in landfills, where they will break down over time, but this is not the case. These plastics must be disposed of separately from regular landfill trash. Just like all other types of plastic, biodegradable plastic should not be placed in a regular trash bin.
Compostable plastics are similar to biodegradable plastics in that these materials also will not break down if simply placed in a landfill. These types of plastics need to be taken to proper composting facilities and there are commercial composting facilities all over the United States that can process these materials.
Recyclable plastics include a wide variety of options. In fact, virtually all of the materials we use are recyclable. By using materials such as PET and HDPE, which are accepted by virtually all curbside recycling programs in the United States, you make it easy for your customers to simply toss plastic packaging into a recycling bin, where it can be reused to make something else.
Other Sustainable Options
Packaging companies can create many distinct types of packaging using bioplastics, compostable plastics, recyclable plastics and biodegradable plastics, but this is not the only way to improve sustainability.
For instance, at Indepak, we can create combination designs that include plastic and paper or pulp, to reduce the amount of plastic needed for each package. We also can create packaging using post-consumer grade materials, which is another sustainable option you might consider.
Our design team also works diligently to ensure that we use the smallest amount material necessary to surround and protect a product and that we waste as little material as possible during the creation process.
To create plastic packaging, large thin sheets of thermoform plastic are fed into thermoforming equipment. The machines transform these sheets of plastic into your packaging, and the excess plastic, or web, is trimmed away. Our goal is always to create a design that reduces the amount of “web” produced. Of course, any leftover materials are immediately recycled and transformed into something else.
If you are searching for packaging companies that can provide you with sustainable options, the team at Indepak is ready to help. We are a low-waste operation in every part of our company. We are an ISO-certified company and consistently go beyond ISO 14001 requirements to ensure that we minimize our impact on the environment.