Can all products be packed in paper or compostable packaging? The answer is NO.
Choosing the right packaging material often becomes a balancing act between deciding what’s most sustainable for both the product and the environment.
We get a lot of enquiries regarding paper packaging, but a lot of those enquiries have one thing in common.
The misconception is that paper packaging is always fully recyclable or sustainable. In fact, this falls down to a variety of factors, such as what your product is, how it will be stored, and whether it has a lot of moisture or grease within it that may seep out.
The reality of paper packaging
When packaging a product, it is highly unlikely that it will be just paper alone. This is because most paper bags will have a plastic liner, being conventional polymers like PE or PP or bioplastics like PLA or potato-derived plastics. This is to protect your product and make the bag stronger. Barrier properties are required for most contents, especially food, so packaging made of ALL paper will not provide what your product needs.
You may wonder what harm compostable packaging and bioplastics could do to the environment. Surely they’re the perfect resource?
This is more than a simple switch. The straightforward act of swapping a plastic bag for a so-called greener option is a complex systemic adjustment with a far-reaching impact. Bioplastics can be broadly viewed in two categories: durable and biodegradable. Both are produced from plant-based raw materials that are often perceived as more sustainable than fossil fuels, but critical differences exist.
What exactly is compostable packaging?
Compostable packaging is extremely similar to biodegradable packaging as both are designed to break down and return to the earth. The significant difference between the two is that compostable packaging materials actually give nutrients back to the earth after breaking down.
It means that rather than sending materials to landfill sites, packaging can be added to professionally managed compost piles.
There’s one big downfall to compostable packaging. If it is going to be in contact with oxygen, moisture and food content, the packaging will break down way before the end of your shelf life. So you’ll end up with bags that are disintegrating before your eyes!
What is dispersion-coated packaging?
Some bags can also be treated with a dispersion coating that deposits a thin biopolymer layer to give them the required barrier properties. Dispersion barrier coating helps reduce and replace plastic used in food packaging and thus enables the development of recyclable paper or board packaging.
The recyclability of a bag depends entirely on how the dispersion coating is produced. Some brands use an aqueous coating which currently allows the paper bag to still be recycled.
However, the truth is it is still using a small amount of plastic, so is it really a sustainable solution and is it contributing to a more circular economy?
How can I make sure my product has 100% recyclable packaging?
That’s easy – choose Ready2Recycle, of course! It is plastic but it is 100% made of a single polymer structure (PE or PP) and therefore is fully recyclable.
In 2019, Law Print introduced the Ready2Recycle range to the market. Since then, it has become a staple for many of our customers, seeking fully recyclable packaging for their brands.
The reason why the Ready2Recycle range has gained so much popularity since its launch is without question the race to sustainability from both brand owners and retailers alike. Despite the current climate, the demand from consumers to offer alternative packaging solutions is still very much at the forefront.
Plastic is best for most product applications!
In conclusion, plastic is often vilified within the media, but it’s usually the best material for your product.
The only way to know for sure whether you should use paper is to get in touch with us. We can talk you through the entire process and can clarify anything you’ve read in this blog post, or anything you may have heard within the industry.
Plastic that is mono material like our Ready2Recycle range, is 100% recyclable, and you’ll find that it will offer better protection and shelf life for most products than paper or compostable packaging. At the end of the day, why would you want to create more food waste!
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us should you need more information.
Law Print Pack are a leading expert in the supply and management of packaging throughout the world. Wherever you are on your product journey, we will be able to help you lower costs, and risks and, most importantly, improve results. Based in the United Kingdom, we also operate within the EU and work with a global network of high-quality accredited manufacturers and suppliers. This enables us to deliver solutions to clients across many industries and continents.