Flexible packaging is designed to protect and preserve your product at the same time as lowering the usage of space and increasing the ability to transport the goods further so that they are readily available all year round.
Flexible Packaging saves resources, such as food and product waste that occurs on the way to the store and while on display.
Packaging typically reduces supermarket food and product waste by about one third. Packaging also displays vital information to the consumer such as any allergy advice and nutritional content.
Without packaging we could not purchase liquids, gels, powders or out-of-season fruit. We would also have significant problems with food safety and hygiene. Food wastage would increase – this would have negative environmental impacts. Products sold loose have been found to suffer from greater instore waste, in some cases leading to increases of 20%. Damage and losses would occur to goods in the retail and logistics chain.
Flexible packaging is light and provides unique benefits. You can use less plastic than other materials to do the same job. Producing plastic uses half as much energy and results in much less carbon being emitted than the alternatives.
Why isn’t all plastic biodegradable?
Products that are easily recyclable should be recycled to enable the reuse of the material. Small items and those heavily contaminated with food may be suitable for composting. However, we need to make sure they don’t get into the recycling stream (where they can cause issues) and are collected for special treatment (industrial composting). Most materials only biodegrade in special conditions, which are not met on the street, in the ocean or in landfill, so they should never be littered.
Despite what you may think plastic is not difficult to recycle. The UK recovers 80% of all plastic packaging. The UK is also the 7th best recycler of plastic packaging waste in Europe (out of 30 countries).
Plastics packaging can be recovered and recycled into all sorts of items, such as packaging, bags, car components, furniture, building materials, paint pots and even kerbstones.
Flexible packaging is not widely collected from most households because recycling targets are set on the basis of tonnes, and plastic is a very light material. Some councils prefer to collect heavier waste than plastic packaging. However, the number of councils offering the collection of various recyclables has been increasing steadily.
What are the alternatives?
Paper – Roberts Mart was first established as a paper bag manufacturer and today uses the latest flexographic printing and paper converting systems to manufacture our paper products.
We can offer mono ply paper webs or complex multi-layer laminates to suit your application and/or packing lines. We also have the ability to supply paper strip laminates where a window is required to display the packed product.
Compostable films are made from renewable non plastic sources and reduce the reliance on conventional petrochemical based products. They can run on most conventional packing lines and exhibit excellent gas and moisture barrier. They are not however home compostable, they need to be handled by specialists in industrial composting.
Fully recyclable single layer pouches – as standard pouches are made from laminates they may not be classed as recyclable. They must be labelled as mixed plastics. We can replace some of these with polythene alternatives which can be recycled.
Bio-polymers – these are conventional plastics produced from renewable sources such as sugar cane and have a reduced carbon footprint. We are able to replicate most polythene films from these products.