Harshita Sonarthi1* and Supreetha. S2
Packaging waste question started raising few years ago aiming to eliminate packaging in order to stop the millions of tonnes of packaging waste going to landfill or making its way into our rivers and oceans.All packages flying around the globe are great for our convenience, but they are not always so great for the environment. Materials like cardboard boxes have low ecological impact, but many other materials, like plastic packaging and Styrofoam packing, will not biodegrade, and they are not recyclable. Consumer packaging, such as the rings around soda cans and bottles, adds even more to the waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), packaging contributes to an astonishing 77.9 tons of municipal solid waste per year — almost 30% of the total quantity of waste. Packaging represents a staggering 65% of all household trash. There’s an increasing variety of alternative materials on the packaging market. After the development of compostable packaging, plantable packaging is the next big thing. We are talking about whatever packaged product, which incorporates seeds and allow the packaging to be buried in the soil and disintegrate while flowers or herbs are flourishing.Plantable packaging is the epitome of the zero-waste concept, that is been gaining popularity over the last years. It leaves no trace in our environment.
Green packaging, also called sustainable packaging, uses materials and manufacturing techniques to diminish energy use and reduce the harmful impacts of packaging on the environment. Green packing solutions often include biodegradable and recyclable materials in preference to materials like plastic and Styrofoam. Green manufacturing processes take steps to reduce their power output and diminish the number of greenhouse emissions they produce. This zero-waste plantable packaging is made with post-consumer materials embedded with seeds, after using the product the package can be buried in soil and the seed converts into some plant, so it will definitely show your eco-commitment and promote corporate sustainability.
Plantable packaging as Zero-Waste packaging
Plantable packaging comes under the zero-waste concept, since whatever product has seeds embedded in its packaging material, which then can be planted after the product is consumed, ending up with flowers or plants and zero packaging waste. Plantable packaging is a zero-waste solution for products that require traditional paper packaging such as small boxes, belly bands, inserts and box fillers. Made with post-consumer materials embedded with seeds, this biodegradable paper doesn’t leave any waste behind and will grow into something that will actually have a positive impact on the environment. As pollinator plants, wildflowers are incredibly beneficial to important species such as declining honeybee populations.
Key players in Plantable packaging:
- Pangea Organics: The very first company introducing a plantable packaging. Pangea’s moulded fibre box for ecocentric body/skin-care products is the first of its kind. It is manufactured with zero waste and created from 100% post-consumer paper board, without glues and dies.
- Connor Davey: Created chocolate packaging that can be planted after use. The packaging designer came up with a range of different flavor chocolates packaged in a biodegradable seed infused card like the orange flavoured chocolate grows an orange plant.
- Daniel Stankus: This prototype is for a 100% compostable tea packaging, made entirely from biodegradable materials, including a moulded fibre paperboard embedded with medicinal herb seeds.
- Eden’s Paper: A line of 100% plantable wrapping paper embedded with seeds that grow vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. The brand is currently offering the paper in nine varieties: Sunflowers, English Wildflowers, Onions, Carrots, Tomatoes, Beetroot, Bell Peppers, Gem Lettuce and Broccoli.
- Reduce, Reuse,Grow: A creative company based in California has designed a coffee cup that can be planted and grown. The cups, which are currently part of a Kickstarter Campaign, will have seeds embedded in their walls based on their locations. Participating stores will encourage people to plant the cups themselves or to return them to be planted by the company.
- Sustainable packaging reduces your carbon footprint
- Greener planet
- Easy disposal
- Get more storage and more space
- Free of allergens and toxins
- It is biodegradable
- Improves the brand image
Plantable packaging is ideal for small boxes for cosmetics and other light-weight items, product wraps and toppers, or shredded as box filler. There are all kinds of creative things you can do with seed paper packaging. No matter what you use, this eco green packaging is sure to make a great impression on anyone that receives it.
An important step towards a zero-waste future is Plantable packaging.The rapid change towards sustainable packaging is pushing brands to be socially and environmentally responsible. Companies should evaluate their own packaging, set sustainability benchmarks, and find ways to make improvements. Often times, a simple component reduction can lead to a notable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and end-of-life impacts.Also, there is a huge scope for packaging industry to grow, as the consumption of per capita packaging is still as low as 8.7 kg in India compared to other regions. As sustainability is becoming the new lingo, the demand for green packaging has increased substantially.Overall, food is proving to be the biggest challenge when it comes to zero waste packaging because of sanitary and contamination issues. Most people wouldn’t want to eat something that has been transported and stored without some sort of container for good reason. However, there have been inventive ideas in recent years.
Sustainability is a fast gaining importance among companies, as consumers increasingly look for products that are ‘green’. Plantable packaging is one of the zero-waste packaging as it will not leave any traces behind after dispose, and helps in making environment greener. Plantable packaging can be a good alternative packaging material for light weight product.
1Ph.D. Scholar, ICAR- NDRI, SRS, Bengaluru
2Senior Research Fellow, ICAR- NDRI, SRS, Bengaluru
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