End Of Line Processes

End of line eco friendly food packaging

Packaging is vital to the UK’s food supply. It is essential for keeping items fresh during transport, and in a condition that consumers will accept. However, many types of packaging, particularly plastic varieties, have a downside: they’re not always kind to the environment.

Consumers are now concerned about the issue, increasingly demanding eco food packaging, and shunning products that don’t offer it. Interestingly, though, there is no widely accepted definition of what eco-friendly food packaging is. While it is generally lower impact than conventional alternatives, many companies are using it for “greenwashing” operations instead of making real progress towards their environmental goals.

Even so, it is clear what the industry needs to avoid: single-use plastic packaging, packaging that contains BPA, and plastic takeout containers. All these are petroleum-based products, take thousands of years to biodegrade, and in some cases, can harm human health directly.

Types Of Eco-friendly Food Packaging

You can quite easily find sustainable food packaging in the UK, as long as you know what you are looking for.

Glass Containers

Before plastic, most manufacturers used glass to store and transport their products. It was more expensive and prone to breakage, but it was also reusable, easy to clean and only had a minor impact on the environment.

Today, many glass containers have plastic or plastic-containing composite lids. Pure metal screw tops are superior but rarer.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is another sustainable alternative, though it does necessitate the use of fossil fuels when mining the ore and preparing the sheet metal.

Stainless steel has the advantage of being heat-resistant, rust-free, and incredibly durable. It’s also hypoallergenic and non-reactive, making it suitable for food storage applications. Stainless steel containers can be paired with sustainable stoppers or lids to eliminate plastic waste.

Rice Husk

Manufacturers are increasingly experimenting with rice husk, a byproduct of rice farming that is both renewable and biodegradable. Manufacturers are now investigating whether the material is suitable for serving bowls and lunch boxes.

Gelatin Films

Many products require plastic films to keep food containers air-tight. These are effective, but also made of petrochemicals that don’t break down in the ground. However, eco-friendly food packaging design is changing all this. Now manufacturers are experimenting with a wholly natural material, gelatin.

Gelatin is an obvious choice for several reasons. It’s low cost, able to reliably form films, and is non-toxic, meaning that it will not react with food.

To improve strength, manufacturers are exploring the idea of filling gelatin films with a type of cellulose that inhibits the growth of pathogens, such as E. coli, known to cause foodborne illnesses.

Bamboo

Lastly, bamboo is another promising sustainable packaging material that could find widespread application in the food industry and beyond. Not only is it highly durable, but it is also heat-resistant, making it suitable for hot food service.

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If you’re considering end-of-production-line eco-packaging for your enterprise, consult with us today on the best materials to use and how to incorporate them into your production processes.

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