Use of conventional plastics such as polyethylene and polypropylene are facing harsh societal and political criticism due to environmental and waste-disposal concerns. As widely reported in print, electronic, and social media, these non-degradable plastics find their way into the oceans and negatively affect marine eco system and habitats. As a result, corporations are paying an attentive ear by turning to sustainable packaging innovations.
Splash, a fashion retailer in India and the Middle East, has partnered with Natur-Tec, a business unit of Northern Technologies International Corporation (NTIC) to pioneer a new sustainable biopolymer-based packaging solution in India, South Asia and Middle East.
The brand’s 80 million polybags a year have been replaced with “bioplastics” – biobased and compostable plastic alternative to conventional plastics. The biobased carbon is helping reduce 298 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
At the end of useful life, these eco-friendly bags are safely and completely digested (biodegraded) by macro- and micro-organisms in natural composting and soil disposal. This approach reduces the carbon footprint of the company’s packaging and provides for an environmentally responsible end-of-life through composting. The company’s new approach is in line with the Circular Economy model and eliminates leakage into the ocean environment and landfills.
Another global brand to join the Circular Economy is Tetra Pak. Around 75% of their packaging material is made from long, strong paper fibres that can be recycled several times into paper products. The thin layer of polymers – or plastics – in their beverage cartons can be blended with other polymers and turned into new products, such as roofing tiles, crates, carton boxes etc.
As part of their recent pledge to the EU Plastics Strategy, Tetra Pak will work with partners to ensure that by 2030, recycling solutions are in place for all components of their beverage cartons.
NTIC’s Natur-Tec engineers products using proprietary blends of biodegradable polymers and natural materials to create biobased (renewable resource based) and certified compostable plastics. By using them as an alternative to conventional plastics, industry and consumers reduce their carbon footprint.