What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is a real-world goal that drives our way of doing business. We seek to minimize our operation’s impact on the environment in various ways:
- Use of alternative packaging materials.
- Use of renewable and recyclable materials.
- Use of recycled materials in new products.
- Reduction of material in making the products.
- Maximizing efficiencies in space and storage to minimize energy and transportation usage.
- Minimizing the Carbon Footprint of our entire operation.
However, when it comes to the products themselves, there are three primary pathways to achieve “end-of-life” sustainability:
Recycling, removing used packaging from the waste stream and ensuring the material is recovered and recycled into more packaging or other products. Improving recycling practices and recyclability of products is in many ways the shortest route to waste reduction and sustainability. By using between 70 and 100% of post-consumer recycled content in our plastic clamshells, we strive to avoid introducing new plastic into the packaging process.
Additionally, we are migrating our clamshell labels to APR* approved washable versions that themselves are made of recyclable plastic. This will allow your used packages to be discarded into your recycling bin with the assurance that they will be ready for recycling and avoid ending up in the landfill.
Significant advancements have been made with the recycling community in conjunction with packaging manufacturers to increase the recycling of flexible packaging. By changing the construction of the package and the types of resins being used, the material has increased value and has improved opportunity to be recycled. For more information on these initiatives, please visit https://www.materialsrecoveryforthefuture.com/.
In addition to plastic, we have developed and continue to introduce a number of containers made of various forms of fiber and paper that can be sorted into your recycling bin with the rest of your paper and cardboard waste, ensuring it too is reused.
*Association of Plastic Recyclers
We have developed a variety of solutions that utilize alternative materials which, upon end-of-life, can be either sent to be industrially composted at a municipal facility, or, in some cases, even be composted in your back-yard compost bin.
Composting is a method for treating solid waste in which organic material is broken down by microorganisms in the presence of oxygen to a point where it can be safely stored, handled and applied to the environment.
Any package certified as compostable by the BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) which meet the appropriate ASTM standards for composability will have the BPI symbol on it. Consumers should check with their local municipality to determine what are composting options in their local area.
We can also provide several materials and product designs that are biodegradable, meaning that they will break down into environmentally safe natural elements under natural conditions. These also can be composted, but in an imperfect world, biodegradable packaging that ends up either in the waste stream or in a natural setting will break down into environmentally neutral or beneficial elements that contain no contaminants.
Any package certified as Biodegradable by BPI or the European OK Compost should have the corresponding symbols on the package.
Developing packaging made from alternative materials is a process of not only understanding the end-of-life impact of the product but ensuring the process to create the package is itself environmentally friendly and safe.
Talk to your Netpak representative to find the sustainable solution that best meets your needs.