From non-recyclable coffee cups to the horror of single-use plastics, the media has been raging against plastics and demanding eco-friendly packaging in all of its forms since the turn of the year.
Consumers, especially the new generations, look at plastic packaging with disdain. They believe that if at all possible, all packaging should be abolished. And if the packaging is essential, it should be ‘natural,” renewable, “recyclable,’ or ‘compostable,’. The goal is to achieve sustainable packaging in whatever way possible. The stringent ban on single-use plastics makes innovation not only economically necessary but also necessary from a sustainability standpoint. Whether the strategy of choice has been the use of renewable materials, light-weighting, compostability, or recyclability, a wide range of packaging producers can cite examples of significant changes and improvements in their products and processes that have been in existence for a long time; thus, the media outcry can feel a little unfair.
Change is taking place.
We are already witnessing a (some could call kneejerk) reaction and a switching tendency. To appeal to dissatisfied customers, brands demand more “natural” designs, while retailers are looking for plastic-free solutions to respond to the environmental crisis (whether they use recycled plastics or not).
The industry is going through a period of significant change and challenge, which we at Manipal Digital welcome. Change is beneficial. The change improves things, and forward-thinking businesses will stand up to the plate with unconventional thinking.
However, as a collective packaging sector, we now understand that delivering sustainable packaging is a must, not an add-on to the brief. Furthermore, at Manipal Digital, we feel it is critical to address the sustainability of our whole supply chain if we are to ever repair our image and reputation in the larger community.
We believe sustainable packaging is the end product of a sequence of activities that must be sustainable in and of themselves. We specialise in pre-press and believe sustainable packaging must be appropriately produced first, rather than using renewable, recyclable, or eco-friendly materials.
Ps of packaging – protect, preserve, present, and post-consumption.
Originally, packaging served three functions: protecting products from damage, preserving them in transportation or storage, and appealingly presenting the product to convince the consumer to buy. What must now be added is that once its task has been completed, the leftover pack must be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Packaging has evolved the power to connect, engage, and educate as packaging science and technology have advanced. The three essential ideas, however, remain. If the product is damaged, degraded, or unappealing at the time of sale, no matter how clever the solution, the package is regarded as useless.
When it comes to successful sustainable package design, the beginning point must always be an assessment of the product to be packed. Is it a solid or a liquid? What does this have to do with barrier performance or closures? Is it a medical or pharmaceutical product requiring substantial regulatory oversight and traceability? Is it a fresh food item that necessitates sophisticated barrier performance to arrive in the store in a condition acceptable to the picky shopper?
What are the different types of digital packaging?
Digital printing of folding cartons is becoming an increasingly appealing choice because of its quality, speed, colour accuracy, and affordability. Short-run and unique versioning opportunities provide significant value to brand owners.
Smart Digital Packaging
Packaging that demonstrates authenticity is deemed as intelligent packaging. Codes, serial numbers, expiration dates, and other data can be stored using this technology. Such solutions are crucial in the pharmaceutical industry, for example.
Versatile Flexible Packaging
We’re talking about plastics here, namely printing directly onto plastic films and substrates to save time and money on labelling, decreased waste, faster turnaround time, and varied content.
Digital printing on thicker corrugated boards allows for the manufacture of goods with better structural strength than folding cartons.
In a typical consumer product lifecycle analysis, packaging accounts for around 3 per cent to 5 per cent of the carbon footprint from farm or factory to consumer consumption (see INCPEN data).
However, the image of packaging today as the root of all evil is entirely disproportionate to its environmental impact – our farming, fishing, shipping, refrigeration, and manufacturing processes contribute considerably more to our worldwide environmental challenges than packaging can.
The truth is that packing is a green technology in the first place, but that argument has been lost, and we all have a responsibility to ensure that the packaging we use is suitable, efficient, and sustainable, according to whatever definition is required.