Sustainability is undoubtedly a concept that must be present in all areas of business. Minimising the impact of business on the environment without sacrificing competitiveness and efficiency is a major challenge for companies. One of the greatest enemies of sustainability is the indiscriminate use of plastics,cause not only damage the environment but also have very negative consequences for people’s health.
The agri-food industry is one of the largest contributors to the use of plastics, especially in the use of packaging. Aware of the need to achieve a more sustainable food chain and to be in line with the new environmental strategies of governments, the food industry has begun to take the first steps in this race towards sustainability by incorporating new solutions such as sustainable packaging.
New sustainable packaging solutions
The emergency to reduce the use of plastics has prompted the need for technological advances in the development of new packaging solutions. In order for packaging to be considered sustainable, the reduction of the amount of raw materials used, the reduction of energy used during the manufacturing process and its focus on environmental conservation must be taken into account.
Bioplastics or plant-based plastics are materials created from the fermentation of plants such as soya, maize or potato starch. The material created is durable, 100% biodegradable and much less polluting in its creation.
- Compostable packaging
Compostable packaging, unlike biodegradable packaging, composts once it disintegrates into the environment without leaving any toxic residues.
- Use of agricultural waste for packaging production
There are several studies focused on the use of plant biomass or lignocellulosic biomass, a waste generated in agricultural activity, for the creation of sustainable packaging.
- Reusable packaging
Increasingly, importance is being given to the creation of packaging that is not single-use and is reusable, thus giving a second life to the packaging produced. This type of reusable packaging is usually made of glass, aluminium or fabric.
Benefits of sustainable packaging
The use of sustainable packaging has great advantages for companies and individuals. These include the following:
- Reduction of the carbon footprint: This packaging is environmentally friendly and reduces the impact of emissions into the atmosphere.
- Anticipation of new laws: There are more and more regulations on this issue, such as the European regulation for 2030.
- Competitive factor: The use of sustainable packaging promotes innovation and the use of new technologies.
- Circular economy: Thanks to sustainable packaging, waste is reintroduced into the production chain to be transformed into raw materials for the production of new products. This economy has great benefits for society, such as cost reduction, less exploitation of natural resources, economic growth and job creation, among many others.
- Improved brand image: By using sustainable packaging, the image of a responsible company is projected, creating an attraction for many consumers and increasing the added value of the product/service.
Al utilizar envases sostenibles, se proyecta la imagen de una empresa responsable, lo que crea un atractivo para muchos consumidores y aumenta el valor añadido del producto/servicio. In our International Master in Agribusiness Management we have a module focused on the sustainability of the sector and the challenges and solutions that agribusinesses have to face. Find out more now!