When you think about sustainable food packaging, plastic materials might not spring to mind immediately. However, plastic packaging can be the best and most sustainable packaging option for many products, especially foods and beverages and there are several reasons why.

1. Plastic Materials Help Preserve Foods
Plastic materials keep out moisture and mold and protect your specialty food items. With modified atmosphere packaging, you can increase the shelf life of your product. For this type of food packaging, we create a custom thermoformed tray or tub. Food is added to the package, gases are added to prevent spoilage and plastic film seals the package.

This can preserve fresh meat, poultry, fish and other items for days longer than ever before. Other food products such as fresh pasta, ready meals, cheeses, processed meats and specialty products such as tofu, won ton wrappers and much more can be better preserved through the use of modified atmosphere packaging. This is a sustainable food packaging option because it extends the life of fresh foods and helps prevent food waste.

2. Plastic Materials Are Less Prone To Damage
While modified atmosphere packaging extends shelf life, plastic materials also are an excellent option because they are impact-resistant. If your plastic package is jostled during transportation or perhaps dropped from a store shelf, the packaging will likely be unaffected, protecting the product inside.

While you might be tempted to use paper or cardboard, these materials, can be easily damaged and are highly susceptible to tampering. Dampness and moisture also can reduce the protectability of paper packaging. Likewise, glass and aluminum packaging can be easily damaged. Again, plastic is the most sustainable packaging option because it offers the highest level of protection and prevents food waste.

It is estimated that as much as 30 percent (or more) of the food produced in the United States is wasted. Spoilage is a huge contributor to this food waste, and plastic packaging can reduce the rate of spoilage. While there are certainly many other steps that need to be taken to reduce food waste, using protective packaging can make a big difference.

3. Plastic Food Packaging Can Be Recycled
When you opt for materials that can be recycled easily by consumers, you are making a more sustainable choice. Plastics such as PET and HDPE are accepted by virtually all curbside recycling programs in the United States, and both of these materials are approved for food contact.

We can design your sustainable food packaging using PET, PETG or HDPE. In fact, we can create packaging for many retail products using these materials. In addition to PET and HDPE, we can use HIPS, ABS, PP and many other plastic materials. Almost all of the materials we use at Indepak are recyclable.

4. Consider Recycled Content For Your Sustainable Food Packaging
Using recycled content can be a great option for companies committed to using sustainable packaging. We can use recycled PET, known as rPET, as well as many other recycled plastics for food packaging and custom retail packaging.

With recycled content, you can use either post-consumer or pre-consumer materials, and you can create all of your packaging with recycled content or a portion of it, depending on your budget. Recycled materials can be a bit more expensive than virgin plastics, but if you are striving to be more eco-friendly, it can be well worth the cost.

5. Plastics With Renewable Source Materials Are Available
In addition to creating packaging using recyclable and recycled materials, we also can provide you with custom food packaging and custom retail packaging that is created from renewable resources.

Starch-based biomaterials can be used to create many types of packaging, including specialty foods packaging. These materials typically are made using corn starch, and while they aren’t as recyclable as traditional plastics, they are made using renewable resources. As demand for bioplastics increases, recycling and composting options are sure to become more readily available for consumers.

6. Smaller Packaging Is Always An Option
One of the best ways to increase sustainability is to simply reduce the amount of packaging used for your product. At Indepak, our design team has more than 50 years of experience creating packaging for a wide range of industries. We are adept at creating packaging that is large enough to protect your product, yet small enough to reduce excess plastic use.

Keep in mind, that with smaller packages, you can transport more packages per shipment, which reduces your transportation costs and, fewer fossil fuels are used to transport products. Additionally, plastics are extremely lightweight, which also reduces the amount of fossil fuels needed for transport. A lighter load burns fewer fossil fuels, and most other packaging materials are far heavier than plastics.

Types Of Custom Packaging We Can Create
At Indepak, we’ve been designing and producing custom plastic packaging for more than 50 years, and we serve a wide range of industries This includes the specialty foods industry as well as the electronics industry, medical & pharmaceutical industries, the agriculture industry and many retail companies. Here’s a quick look at what we can create for our customers.

Blister Packaging – We can create many different types of blister packaging, including medical blisters, face-seal blisters and trap blisters. Trap blisters can be an excellent option for sustainable packaging, as this combination design reduces the overall use of plastic materials.

Clamshell Packaging – Did you know the clamshells are a type of blister pack? We can create clamshells for retail products and specialty foods companies. We have many sealing options, as well, including heat sealing and RF welding.

Thermoformed Trays – We can create trays for bakery and deli items as well as trays for frozen dinners. We have the capability to use materials that can go from the freezer or refrigerator into an oven or microwave. We also can design trays for medical kits and retail products, such as a sewing kit, toys, tools, a shaving kit or anything else you might need. We also can create business-to-business tote trays that fit into your processes seamlessly.

Custom Plastic Tubs – Whether you need tubs with or without lids, this is another type of packaging that we can provide. We often create these for our specialty foods clients, but they can be used for many other products, as well.

Of course, not everything we design at Indepak is a package. We can create thermoformed plastic parts and other items. We can use recyclable materials, materials with recycled content or starch-based biomaterials for our projects to ensure that your packaging or parts are as sustainable as possible.

When it comes to sustainability, we aren’t just concerned with helping our clients find the most eco-friendly options. We also are committed to being a low-waste operation in every aspect of our business. We have been reducing, reusing and recycling for decades long before it was popular or required. If you are interested in learning more about sustainable food packaging or any type of plastic sustainable packaging, contact us at (800) 338-1857 or at info@indepak.com.