Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Sinar Mas Provides 5 Smart Approaches To Sustainable Packaging Design
It is no secret that more and more people are joining in the everyday fight against climate change. All over the world, people are doing what they can to minimize their carbon footprint and push for more sustainable living practices to help our planet.
While doing things like opting for a greener method of transportation and reducing how much electricity we’re using is important, one of the environment’s biggest problem is the packaging. Whether plastic, glass, paper, styrofoam, or some alternative material, packaging is visible in every aspect of our daily lives.
Single-use plastic packaging in particular, has already faced heavy criticism for several reasons, no less because over 380 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year. Not only are fossil fuels used in plastic production, but the time it takes for plastic to degrade fully is often absurdly long, with an estimated 450 years needed for plastic bottles to break down.
However, even green alternatives can have their downsides; glass is difficult to recycle, and the weight of glass bottles makes them less practical compared to lightweight and flexible plastics. Paper is naturally biodegradable, but this may be affected by food-safe treatments that allow it to act as food packaging; paper that is unclean or soiled by food residue is also difficult or even impossible to recycle, limiting the ways it can be safely returned back to the environment.
With all things considered, it’s easy to understand why businesses such as Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Sinar Mas are seeking out sustainable solutions to single-use packaging, especially for food packaging in particular. Finding eco-friendly alternatives that are both effective and cost-friendly is key to making sustainability accessible to the greater public, and continuing the trend towards a greener tomorrow.
Why business owners and brands need to get on board
Beyond the moral and ethical incentives behind sustainable packaging designs, there are also plenty of financial incentives for businesses and organizations to consider. There is an increasing number of people who are willing to pay a premium price for products that offer a more sustainable solution, with this growing consumer need directly affecting purchasing decisions.
In addition, businesses and brands that are focused on more sustainable operations including the use of eco-friendly packaging, can be viewed more favorably by consumers and provide an edge over competitors who are not yet doing so. Regardless of the quality of your actual product, the sustainability of its packaging can have a huge impact on whether a consumer chooses to buy it over a competitor’s.
So how can pulp and paper companies explore new and innovative approaches to food packaging design? Here are 5 ways Asia Pulp and Paper continue to push the envelope:
1. Usage of certified wood
Businesses should ensure that the paper used in their production of packaging materials is both certified and traceable.
To help facilitate this, Asia Pulp and Paper developed internal Supplier Evaluation and Risk Assessment (SERA) tools to ensure their Responsible Fiber Procurement and Purchasing Policy (RFPPP) is carried out across all business units of the organization. Potential suppliers are evaluated against considerations such as GMO-free production, protection of High Conservation Values (HCV) or High Carbon Stock (HCS), and a chain of custody system. Formal third-party certification is also brought in as part of a ‘chain of custody’ assurance tool to ensure the traceability of the fiber sources throughout the production process.
Asia Pulp & Paper also utilizes what’s called the Integrated Sustainable Forest Management Plan (ISFMP) in its production as part of its wider Forest Conservation Policy (FCP). The ISFMP relies on various assessments such as HCV, HCS, Social Conflict Mapping, legal obligations, and comprehensive stakeholder input to ensure that the land resources used by Asia Pulp & Paper can be fully and transparently accounted for.
Measures within the ISFMP include setting long-term forest management goals for each Forest Management Unit (FMU), action plans to help the FMY address wider forest management concerns; and updated maps of concession areas that address land right status in all supplier concessions.
This ensures that production can continue alongside responsible forest management, balancing the company’s business interests with wider sustainability concerns.
2. Pursuing biodegradability or compostability of products
It is vital that sustainable food packaging alternatives can be broken down in a fraction of the time as their plastic counterparts if we are to make advances in the battle against plastic pollution successfully.
The range of Foopak Bio Natura compostable packaging available through Asia Pulp and Paper is completely biodegradable either at an industrial composting facility or at home, in 12 weeks and 24 weeks respectively. This is due to the aqueous dispersion coating – which is fully biodegradable – that replaces the traditional plastic lining. Each of the products in the Foopak Bio Natura range is also repulpable and recyclable should composting not be an option – making it a feasible alternative in regions where composting resources are limited.
Adhering to FDA (USA) regulations and European Union standards for food and beverage direct contact, these compostable packaging options are completely safe for use across all kinds of foods and drinks while also providing businesses with a versatile, eco-friendly packaging option.
3. Going completely plastic-free
Returning to the fact that just under 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced annually – much of which finds its way into our oceans or bodies as microplastics – another absolutely essential piece of the puzzle is sustainable food packaging that has no plastic in it at all.
Understanding the growing need for green packaging from both consumers and businesses, Asia Pulp and Paper has answered the call and spent several years developing packaging products that are not only free of plastic but are also made with certified natural wood that can be broken down incredibly quickly. These include the Natura Cup as well as the Bio Container and PE Board within Asia Pulp & Paper’s Foopak Bio Natura range.
This innovative design tackles a crucial sore point in green food packaging alternatives, which is that a vast majority of food packaging options are a combination of paper and plastic to ensure the packaging can store food properly and safely. Unfortunately, food packaging made from both paper and plastic cannot be recycled due to the lack of technology in processing plants for separating the two, which means it’s sent directly to landfill – contributing to pollution and carbon emissions.
Flustix, the first and only registered EU sustainability regarding plastic usage in products, has also officially certified Asia Pulp and Paper’s Foopak Bio Natura collection as being completely free of all plastic.
4. Ensuring product robustness and versatility
There have been some eco-friendly packaging alternatives released in the past specifically for food and beverages, which simply haven’t been able to meet the necessary requirements for safe and convenient food storage. Coming apart easily, leaking, and breaking down while still being used are some of the common concerns raised that may turn consumers and businesses alike off sustainable packaging alternatives.
However, the extensive quality control and testing that Asia Pulp and Paper conducts to create the Foopak Bio Natura eco packaging range has specifically targeted and resolved all of these issues.
Each item in the collection boasts a strong edge wick which offers better functionality than a standard paper cup. The range of products has also been designed to withstand temperatures ranging from -0.4° Fahrenheit all the way to 428° Fahrenheit. The products are microwavable and even ovenable, enabling a myriad of different usages for businesses and consumers alike.
5. Removing all unnecessary components
By getting rid of any and all elements that aren’t absolutely essential for the packaging to function correctly will drastically reduce the amount of waste that goes into the production process.
For example, by utilizing a heat seal capability that provides permanent bonding on its Foopak Bio Natura products, Asia Pulp and Paper has negated the need for adhesive to be used. This increases the product’s biodegradability and recyclability, making it a more effective way to encourage consumers to pursue sustainable options within their everyday lifestyles.
Pursuing Innovative Design for Sustainable Packaging
When it comes to sustainability in packaging products, Asia Pulp and Paper continues to lead the way in innovative approaches across all elements of the production process and far beyond. Through an extensive amount of in-depth research and a passion for more environmentally-friendly and eco-friendly solutions, the team at Asia Pulp & Paper now delivers a range of sustainable plastic-free food packaging products.
Indeed, packaging waste no longer has to be one of the biggest threats to our environment provided more informed purchasing decisions are made by businesses operating in the pulp, paper, and packaging industry.