What is the future of sustainable packaging? The answer is simple and it requires little to no change on the part of the consumer or manufacture. The future of sustainable packaging is biodegradable for two reasons it has change that can’t be felt and its ironically not reusable.
Everybody thinks they like change and maybe some do, but after a while people settle back into their regular routines sometimes because their tired of change or its simply not sustainable for them. Very few people can actually stick to change and a few is simply not enough to make a difference. Don’t just take my word for it back in September 2019 a firm by the name Globescan ran a study for sustainability in 25 different countries, and their findings concluded that 54% of individuals stated that environmental sustainability or living in a way that was good for them and the environment was a priority. Despite that statement only 37% of those individuals stated that they lived in that same fashion now. What does this teach us, that change is nearly impossible in terms of an individual’s habits and routines. So, if individuals who say they want to be more sustainable don’t live out the change they believe in how are company supposed to push a sustainable packaging that’s good for the environment if their very own consumers don’t resolve to change.
The only way there is going to be a future for sustainable packaging is if companies and manufactures force change on upon the consumers. Forcing change upon someone with no other alternative sound pretty bad, but it’s the only option. As genuine change only happens because there is no other option and by then it will be too late. To make the switch as simple as possible between the sustainable and non-substantiable packaging there must be no quality change nor price difference, and that where biodegradable plastic comes in as it’s the only sustainable material that is both just as durable and affordable to plastic.
Biodegradable plastic is made from plant materials and as such it can be broken down much easier in nature unlike regular plastic. Despite it being the future for sustainability biodegradable plastic still hasn’t made much of a difference and you might ask why if it can be broken down easily. Well it hasn’t been able to break down naturally until very recently as most biodegradable plastic still needed to go into a facility to be treated and then broken down. Despite that fact just last year, environmentally focused companies like Danimer scientific in America and Kaneka in Japan both found a way to make biodegradable plastics actually biodegrade in nature. PHA and PHBH and is their invention in simple terms both are produced by microorganisms during a fermentation process and then it gets refined and molded in to pellets. Any plastic made from these pellets will have the same durability as regular plastic and it will also biodegrade in uncontrolled environment like the ocean within a few months. The only real thing holding it back is how much of these cost pellets and how many can be produced as production is still relatively small because of how new it is, but in time it will replace regular plastics seamlessly.
Biodegradable plastic ironically is the most sustainable non reusable form of packaging as it simply needs to be thrown away and not reused to make a difference. It’s also the only solution that will make packaging sustainable as consumers won’t have to change their routine to make a difference and they will be none the wiser as eventually there will be virtually no difference in price. So, the future of sustainable packaging is already here it’s just simply getting started.
Sustainable Living Report 2019
The Future of Biopolymers
Kaneka Biodegradable Polymer
Essay by: Maximiliano Villarreal-Castro