With almost all packaging and plastics manufactured today made purely with oil or other harmful fossil fuels, plastic waste has become a global catastrophe. The ocean will contain more plastic than fish by weight by 2050 in reports released in January by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

However all is not lost, there are companies that are developing and adopting new packaging options that will have little or no impact on our oceans – both locally and internationally.

Eco-friendly superstar brand, The Body Shop, announced in June 2015 that they will be using less plastic with newly adopted technology developed by Newlight Technologies that creates packaging from thin air.

Newlight Technologies, founded in California USA 2013, has “developed, patented, and commercialized a carbon capture technology that combines air with methane emissions to produce a plastic material called AirCarbon” [1] . The three-step process begins with concentrated methane emissions that would otherwise become part of the air, from places like farms, landfills, and energy facilities, are absorbed into a conversion reactor. Next, those carbon emissions are joined with air and Newlight’s biocatalyst, which pulls oxygen, carbon and hydrogen out of methane. Finally, carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen are re-assembled to form AirCarbon which is 40% Oxygen and 60% Carbon. [1]

The key to success here is replacing oil with AirCarbon™, it isolates more greenhouse gas emissions than they produce – improving the levels of oil used by other plastic manufacturers, reducing costs while also reducing the volume of carbon emitted.

Back at home, Australian-owned company Vegware™ is the first and only completely compostable food-packaging firm operating globally. They specialize in environmentally responsible packaging that is plastic free and BPA Free.

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This packaging is typically used for FMCG and catering products, all made from plants that are biodegradable and compostable. [2]

TetraPak, another eco friendly packaging company in Switzerland uses renewable materials and recyclable paperboard. A company called Yellow + Blue (equals green, get it?) adopted this packaging creating a beginning to end eco friendly wine.

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TetraPak is lighter (40grams in comparison to a standard bottle 500 – 700 grams) and takes up less space so that more cartons can be packed in fewer trucks. Because of this, a 750ml of Y+B has about half the green house emissions to a standard bottle on the same manufacturing and distributing route. Y+B is the only 100% carbon neutral company in the wine business [3]. But wait there is more! Because they are one litre bottles it holds one third more than a conventional bottle and for all you healthy wine drinkers, it’s organic!.

Environmentally sustainable packaging is proven to be successful in innovation and cost cutting for businesses and consumers. Let’s hope to see more!

 

Katelin de Lange

Marketing Assistant/Reception

22/3/16

References

[1] http://newlight.com/

[2] http://www.vegware.com.au/about/info_1.html

[3] http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2015/01/6-best-boxed-wines-welcome-to-the-boxed-wine-revolution.html