While all packaging is technically “recyclable,” in reality, it depends on whether or not there’s a resale market to utilize that specific kind of packaging. This can become challenging when packaging is made from two or more materials because they’re hard to separate. Fortunately, single-material packaging solutions do exist.
Recyclable Symbols Are Key
Look out for recycling symbols 2, 4, and 5 on packaging materials. These plastics are the easiest to recycle. Most packaging materials are made of two layers of polyethylene and polyester. The polyester layer melts at a very high temperature, and is a necessary component of the process when making a pre-made package.
The inner sealant layer has a much lower melting temperature than the polyester layer, forming a strong seal. The two different melting points make this product hard to recycle. That’s because to be recycled, the materials have to be chopped, cleaned, and melted to produce pellets. For example, if a resin is labeled a #7, it’s hard to recycle. On top of that, North America has few facilities to dispose of it properly.
Single-Layer Packaging Solutions
The answer is single-layer packaging that not only boosts the look of your product but also makes it recyclable. This type of packaging uses energy-curing technology, which reduces the number of films required for each package. This innovative technology is considered a breakthrough if you’re looking for Packaging Solutions in Toronto and the GTA. It means that a package that formerly had a #7 recycle symbol now has a #2. Translated, this means millions of packages can be moved from landfills to recycling facilities.
Packaging That’s Biodegradable
For packaging to be considered “biodegradable,” it must be able to be broken down into the tiniest possible components by living microorganisms while not causing any harm. After all, there’s no point in calling something biodegradable if it takes hundreds of years to break down. The answer is packaging solutions that you can dispose of simply by throwing them in the garbage. They start to degrade in an active landfill —or anaerobic— environment. And because they’re completely recyclable, they offer added flexibility at the end of their life cycle.
So Which Sustainable Packaging Is Best?
The answer depends on how it’s used, along with who is using it and the location of your consumer market. While many producers looking for Packaging Solutions in Toronto and the GTA turn to a recycled product, it has the dual benefit of also being sustainable and fairly cheap to produce. On top of that, it consumes less energy throughout its life than do other types of packaging. With more and more companies carving out a sustainable agenda, the trend toward biodegradable packaging will only grow.