Plastic waste is a major problem in the fight against environmental pollution. While overlooked in the past, it is now a problem for governments and industries alike. Non-biodegradable, non-recyclable plastic builds up in the environment. From here, it ends up in landfills and oceans and destroys our ecosystem.
Packaging changes can help companies manage the problem more effectively. For example, some packaging processes consume less energy than others. This not only helps them reduce their carbon footprint but also saves money. Of course, their packaging machines need to be able to cope with environmentally friendly containers and wrapping.
In this article, we’ll discuss how eco-packaging solutions can help the environment. We will also explore how to choose the right packaging machines for your business. Even better, they don’t cost a fortune.
2025 National Packaging Targets in Australia
In 2018, the Australian government established the 2025 National Packaging Targets plan. The goal was to reduce the environmental impact of packaging. The government appointed the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) to work with companies to find sustainable packaging solutions based on four targets:
- 100% of packaging should be recyclable, reusable or compostable
- 70% of plastic packaging should be recycled or composted by 2025
- 50% of average recycled content should be included in packaging
- Phasing out problematic and single-use plastic packaging
Every year, APCO collects data to determine how businesses are progressing towards 2025 targets. The latest report, published in January 2021, indicates that 89% of Australia’s packaging in 2018/19 was reusable, compostable or recyclable. Businesses appear to be on track to achieving the 2025 target.
Green Packaging in Businesses
Green packaging is an important consideration for businesses. It starts with raw materials. The use of recycled materials like plastic and glass has increased in recent years. Other eco-friendly alternatives include organic food wrap, biodegradable bags, and paperless boxes.
Another important change is ‘light-weighting.’ The process uses thinner containers to reduce weight. Light-weighting sometimes uses new package shapes, such as flexible containers, that pack efficiently. However, any novel packaging must maintain quality without sacrificing performance or product protection. It must include seals to prevent product spoilage. It also needs to be robust enough to minimise breakages.
For industries with thin profit margins, competitive pricing for new packaging is important. It should also be eye-catching with an attractive message. One of the strongest selling points today is ‘sustainable packaging’.
Recycle and Reuse: The Full Product Cycle
Businesses focused on going green will look at more than packaging materials. The entire product lifecycle is also important. The end-user should be able to discard items for recycling or composting. Without this, packaging may cause pollution and waste problems around Australia.
Accordingly, a business implementing sustainable packaging solutions should assess the entire supply chain. Any materials should protect a product and make it attractive to customers. It also needs to support reuse, recycling, or green disposal.
Can your production line handle new packaging?
When developing sustainable packaging processes, you need to ask some questions.
- Can your existing packaging machines cope with new materials and designs?
- Can they handle lightweight packaging that reduces transportation costs and emissions?
- Can they move new container shapes and down the production line without any problems?
To assess whether your systems will cope, talk to an experienced packaging machine supplier like Asset Packaging Machines.
Reducing waste and overfilling in Your Production Line
If you want to upgrade your packaging, it might be a good time to assess your entire production line for waste. Excess materials, rejected products, and product wastage create an environmental toll. Waste needs additional energy and transportation and reduces production efficiency significantly.
One often overlooked problem when a company performs an environmental audit is overfilling. This wastes resources and money. Companies should ask if their liquid filling machines could reduce the amount of overspill. Equally, they need to avoid under-filling, which creates issues with customers and regulators.
Over time, the cost of an upgrade may prove less than the cost of a wasted product. It could also offset any future costs of implementing stricter environmental regulations. In other words, new packaging approaches could provide an easy win. They may also help your company fulfil its environmental obligations.
Energy efficiency and packaging machines
For sustainable or eco-packaging solutions, it is important to focus on other environmental benefits. These benefits include a lower carbon footprint. Some environmentally-friendly changes can help a company reduce costs and create a win/win situation.
For example, processes to pack products more compactly can reduce transportation costs. It can also lower emissions. When upgrading production lines, it is relatively easy to improve energy efficiency. This is because modern machines and processes tend to use less power.
One important and overlooked area is the ease of cleaning. A high-quality, ergonomic machine uses less energy and water without compromising on hygiene. It can also reduce downtime.
High-quality machines can also help Australian companies tackle future labour shortages.
Start your sustainability drive today
These are some issues to consider. Luckily, there have been many advances in sustainable packaging solutions. These can help businesses transition into more eco-friendly choices.
Protecting our planet has never been more important. Businesses must consider environmentally friendly solutions sooner rather than later. Otherwise, sustainable packing legislation could force them to take action further down the line.
A specialised, highly experienced packaging machine supplier can provide a wealth of information.
How can Asset Packaging Machines help?
Asset Packaging Machines is Australia’s leading supplier of packaging machines, we’re committed to helping food and beverage processing companies transition to eco-friendly packaging. We produce liquid filling machines, conveyors, capping machines and accumulation/unscrambling tables that are suitable for reusable/recyclable and compostable plastics.
If your business is serious about environmentally friendly packaging and processes, contact Asset Packaging Machines for advice. We have helped numerous businesses across Australia install environmentally friendly systems.