From Plastic to a Sustainable Material : 6 Things to Consider

Campden BRI provides scientific research, information, technical services, regulatory information and support to the food and drink industry. In an interesting article on their website, the author Lynneric Potter examines at 6 elements to consider before choosing to change plastic to a from a more sustainable alternative.

Packaging must Protect, Preserve and Promote

The author begins by stating that the purpose of packaging is to protect, preserve and promote the product it contains. When changing packaging from plastic to a more sustainable material, the challenge is to find a material that will fulfil these 3 functions as well as the existing plastic packaging. She advises that rigorously testing the performance of your packaging materials is the only way to ensure that it remains in top condition throughout its lifecycle, from manufacture until it is recycled/disposed of by the consumer.

Packaging Tests

The author lists 6 elements that need to be considered or tested.

Compression Testing: Tests the proposed new packaging’s ability to protect its contents when it is stacked and measures stacking height. This test also ensures that the packaging board isn’t unnecessarily heavy and therefore expensive.

Peel testing measures the strength of a package seal and the force required to remove the lid or seal.  This test is important if your products will be used by ageing consumers and anyone dexterity issues.

Tensile testing measures the strength of a flexible seal.

Coefficient of friction (slip resistance) is important for packaging and is a fundamental property of all materials which run on high-speed printing and packaging lines.

Gas transmission  This is important in modified atmosphere packaging and vacuum packs.

Effect of Temperature The thermal properties of different materials vary and may affect the cooking instructions, for example, cartonboard cannot be heated to as high temperatures as plastic. If you export your product to countries with a different climate to the country in which your packaging was tested, you may need additional temperature tests to check that the packaging can withstand the temperature and humidity without changing its barrier properties.

At Dollard Packaging, we recommend that new customers complete a questionnaire/checklist that highlights the important elements of your proposed packaging’s lifecycle. This will help us choose the most suitable structure and sustainable board for a new carton or sleeve.  Here is a link to the questionnaire/checklist.