When it comes to packaging, sustainability is a hot trend. Everyone is looking for environmentally friendly options that are also easy for the consumer. This is something JASA keeps a close eye on as well as continuing to innovate. That’s why we’d like to inform you about the latest sustainability trends in the packing industry and how our innovations help create a more sustainable environment.
Sustainability trend #1: less plastic packaging
Plastic soup, sustainability, we see it every day on the news. Supermarkets want to offer, where possible, more sustainable solutions for all products.
In February 2019 reports on the news said supermarkets in the Netherlands want to reduce the number of plastic packages used with 20% in 2025. Supermarket chain Albert Heijn already reported that they are striving to have reduced the number of plastic packages with 25% in 2025. Packonline.nl stated that the aim is to make sure that all the packaging still used in 2025 needs to be 95% recyclable. On top of that, the plastic used needs to consist of at least 50% recycled material and both paper and cardboard need to be 100% certified. All of this was recorded in the Plastic Pact that Secretary of State Van Veldhoven presented in February 2019. This also includes a wish to make the Netherlands completely circular in 2050.
However, it is the question if it is doable to have all packaging completely recyclable in 2025. Ulphard Thoden van Velzen from the University of Wageningen (WUR) doesn’t think it’s possible as he explained in an article in nederlandvoedselland.nl. According to him, we have a few decades to go before we have found the right solution to recycling plastic. He also points out that the plastic soup problem comes from a failing waste system in 95% of the world. Especially in countries that don’t have waste installations, and where waste is dumped in a big pile, and one (rain)storm takes the plastic out to sea. The most important thing still for the waste problem is to reduce and reuse.
Help with packaging recycling
The Centraal Bureau Levensmiddelenhandel (CBL) reports that all in-house brands in the supermarket need to have logos that tell the consumer how they can recycle or bin the packaging. Another helpful tool for this is the discard pointer (de weggooiwijzer) from the Kennisinstituut Duurzaam Verpakken (KIDV) (Knowledge Institute for Sustainable Packaging). This handy tool helps people figure out how to discard their waste.
So everyone is looking for packaging solutions with less packaging materials and more recyclable options. For example, by using thinner foils or replacing caps with top seals. This can reduce the amount of plastic used with up to 30%. Minimizing is the key here.
Plastic in nature
The shift to using less plastic packaging is needed because yearly there’s 300 millions ton plastic produced and half of this is only used once. If we’re looking at the plastic that is used for packaging, that’s about 40% of the total sum of the plastic produced. A large part of that ends up in nature and the oceans and form the notorious plastic soup.
First, the supermarkets will focus on reducing packaging for fresh produce such as fruit, vegetables, and potatoes. Are you already working to minimize the packaging used? JASA offers solutions to produces different types of packages and packaging solutions. Our machines can handle a number of different foils, amongst the thinner varieties.
Sustainability trend #2: more recycling
So plastic soup is something we should worry about since there’s still too little plastic that’s reused. While recycling plastic can be a sustainable solution if done well. As it turns out, plastic does have a function when it comes to packing fruit and vegetables. The plastic packaging makes sure that the produce stays fresh longer.
Why we pack our food
Packing food not only keeps fruit and vegetables fresh, but it also protects it during the transportation process. Depending on the vegetables, packed vegetables stay fresh up to three times longer compared to their non-packed counterparts. On top of that, the fresh vegetables are packed clean and within the food safety regulations.
This video shows why we pack our products:
Sustainable plastic through recycling
By using packaging materials more efficiently, there will be less plastic used, and by setting up a good recycle system for plastic, we can tackle plastic soup head on. A good example is Attero in Wijster, the Netherlands; this modern installation is very equipped to sort out different kinds of plastic. This will help keep the plastic as monogamous as possible. “The installation consists of scanners that scan the DNA of plastic,” Hendrik van den Berg, R&D director says. “This will help sort the plastic so it can easily be melted into new packaging and other products.”
Recycling creates a positive boost for the circular economy. This means there’s less energy used to create new packaging - the material already exists. If on top of that, we also use less plastic packaging and keep it from ending up in our oceans, we have a winning combination. Hendrik: “Maybe it’s an idea to create some kind of deposit system for plastic packaging as we have with bottles in the Netherlands to encourage recycling.”
Sustainability trend #3: Paper packaging
We’ve noticed an increasing demand from the market when it comes to paper packaging material so it can easily be recycled. More and more people realize the importance of sustainable packaging and are looking for those packages in the supermarket. Because paper is easier to breakdown it’s seen as the solution for plastic soup. On top of that, consumers are more used to recycle paper than they are with recycling plastic.
Paper recycling by the numbers
According to Papier Recycling Nederland (Paper Recycling Netherlands), 1262 kton paper was used in the Netherlands for packaging in 2017. Out of that, 1099 kton was recycled, a good 87%! Further research pointed out that paper was only responsible for 1.59% of the total pollution. In other words: paper doesn’t cause a lot of pollution.
JASA’s innovative sustainable packaging: Bag-2-Paper™
To meet the demand of the consumers, JASA developed a new, innovative and 100% paper* packaging: Bag-2-Paper™. With this new paper packaging design, we offer alternatives to traditional plastic packaging. On top of that, we offer the consumer the option to choose more sustainable packaging and reduce the use of plastic materials. The Bag-2-Paper™ sustainable packages are produced on the vertical packaging machine and are 100% suitable for recycling.
Our innovative Bag-2-Paper™ vertical packaging machine is suited to pack your dry produce such as potatoes, onions, garlic, shallots, nuts and bulbs in a sustainable manner. Thanks to the vertical packaging system your products are packed incredibly fast, without sealing. We launched the packaging for the first time during Fruit Logistica 2019 in Berlin and the response was fantastic.
Sustainable packaging for apples, fruit and vegetables
We also launched a new and sustainable solution to pack apples during Fruit Logistica 2019. The apples are kept in their tray by means of a cardboard sleeve. The sleeve replaces the foil material currently used to pack apples. With the new sleeve for apples they can be packed in a way that is 100% suitable for recycling. The best thing is that the sleeve isn’t only suitable for apples, but with a few design tweaks you can use it for other produce as well. Think of: potatoes, kiwis, avocados, tomatoes and other produce.
Sustainability trend #4: less food waste
When we’re looking at sustainability trends in packaging, we’re usually looking at the packaging itself. The material used to create them, how they get recycled and how much energy it takes to produce and transport them. However, there’s another side as well: food waste.
We already mentioned this earlier; by using packaging, products stay fresh for longer. On top of that smaller packaging helps to reduce food waste. By offering smaller packages the consumer can buy a more specific portion, reducing the chance for food waste.
Sustainable packaging means also reducing food waste
While everyone is rightfully worried about our use of plastic, food waste is also an important part of the sustainability discussion. According to research done by the Voedingscentrum we wasted 41 kilograms of food per person in 2016 in the Netherlands. We also wasted 57 liters of drinks per person such as milk. Together that’s about 13% of all the food we buy, which comes down to 700 million kilograms of food being wasted per year in the Netherlands alone.
Throwing out food has a massive impact on the environment. From producing the food, keeping it fresh, processing, packaging, and transportation: it all requires fossil fuels that only end up wasted when we throw out the food. Yearly food waste is responsible for 3.5% of our total use of fossil fuel. A waste that could have been prevented, something that’s highlighted in the graph below.
To make a positive impact on this, the Dutch government launched the Taskforce Circular Economy in Food in 2018. The goal: reduce food waste with 50% in 2030. This is something the packaging industry can anticipate. For example by offering those smaller packages, offering fresh produce packs that contain everything for one meal and offer solutions that keep produce fresh for longer. The most important points for the task force are aimed to just that: cooking the right quantities and focussing on leftovers.
Embrace the trend: start with sustainable packaging
Are you interested in our sustainable packaging solutions such as Bag-2-Paper™ or the cardboard sleeve for fruit and vegetables? Or are you looking for another packaging solution? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We love to inform you about the possibilities for your products!
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