How Green Packaging Addresses the Ecological Concerns Related to Plastic Concerns?
The global green packaging market is anticipated to witness a huge growth in the coming period on account of some of its unique advantages and growing ecological concerns with respect to traditional packaging. Along with this, companies shifting to green and sustainable packaging are also getting incentivized by growing consumer preference for eco-friendly packaging and governmental support for green packaging.
Recently, a picture surfaced on the Internet which caused a lot of uproar across the globe; it was of a sea turtle eating a plastic bag, mistaking it to be jellyfish. Climate activists and environmentalists highlighted, with the help of this picture, the degrading effect of plastic packaging on our planet and reiterated the need to shift to sustainable and green packaging at the earliest. With this, the issue of green packaging has once again come to the fore.
Green Packaging and its Effects on the Global Environment
A market analysis report published by Research Dive has stated that the growing support by various governments to multinational companies engaged in sustainable packaging solutions has had a tremendous effect on the global green packaging market and is expected to help the market garner a handsome revenue of $561.6 billion by 2031. Furthermore, many e-commerce companies also are realigning their packaging strategies to adopt a more sustainable approach.
But what exactly entails green packaging? There are two aspects to sustainable packaging; one refers to the use of biodegradable or recyclable materials for packaging purposes and secondly, it refers to use of minimally polluting manufacturing processes to produce these sustainable packaging solutions. Thus, green or sustainable packaging is a comprehensive concept that covers the entire gamut, from manufacturing to actual use, of packaging products.
As far as the first aspect of green packaging is concerned, researchers and environmental experts propose the use of eco-friendly raw materials such as starch-based biomaterials, organic fabrics, recycled cardboard and paper, plant-based plastics, etc. The primary advantage of using these materials is that they are easily disposable and biodegradable. In fact, these materials can be converted into compost and can thus improve soil fertility.
In one of the studies done by Harvard Medical School, it has been seen that plastic containers, when heated in a microwave, release certain chemicals which are highly toxic if consumed. This is mainly because conventional plastics are manufactured using petrochemicals and similar industrial chemicals which can cause liver and kidney disorders, ailments related to metabolism, and developmental issues in children. Regular cooking and heating of food items in such containers can hence have adverse health effects. Green packaging provides a major benefit in this arena as the processes used for manufacturing are eco-friendly. Hence, foods packaged using sustainable packaging solutions remain edible for a longer period of time. This advantage of sustainable packaging is hugely beneficial for the food and beverages industry as the companies can transport and deliver processed foods to any part of the world without the fear of the food products getting contaminated.
In the last few years, the general awareness regarding the importance of leading a sustainable lifestyle has increased among people across the world. As a result of this increased awareness, people are actively demanding green packaged goods so as to reduce the overall carbon footprint. This behavioral change has, in fact, led to companies adopting an environmentally friendly approach for improving their brand image and company’s valuation. Many companies which have shifted their businesses to sustainable packaging for addressing ecological concerns have registered a growth in their sales. Thus, not just from an environmental perspective, sustainable packaging has turned out to be beneficial from the business’ perspective also.
The Road Ahead for Green Packaging
As of today, sustainable packaging is somewhat more expensive than traditional packaging solutions which is why only big players can afford to shift to green packaging. However, as the cost of raw materials used for eco-friendly packaging goes down, even small and medium scale industries will be able to switch to green packaging. Moreover, new players are entering the market and investing in technologies which will lower the production cost of green packaging solutions. These industry developments are anticipated to open new possibilities for the sustainable packaging industry and aid the market to post amazing growth in the years to come.
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