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10 Environmentally Friendly Packaging Practices

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10 Environmentally Friendly Packaging Practices

As the world's resources are depleting and harmful emissions are rising, it is important for businesses to rethink their production and packaging practices. To improve the green image of a business, there are many ecofriendly packaging methods that can be implemented.

1. According to "Branching Out," an IPM newsletter for trees and shrubs, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) set up a program that "aims to set a worldwide, common set of principles for certifying well-managed forests." Materials from these forests are given a "green certification," and companies can look for this seal when selecting their products.

2. Using soy- or vegetable-based inks on packaging can reduce the amount of emissions a business produces. As one of the first companies to mix their own vegetable-based inks, Harris LithoGraphics states that "vegetable and soy based inks avoid the use of petroleum, and release less volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air."

3. The environment can benefit from upgrading in-house manufacturing equipment. In 2000, the Fuji plant upgraded its exhaust gas treatment equipment and was successful in reducing its chemical emissions and transfers by 74.8 percent in just 10 years. Staying current on green trends will help companies improve their manufacturing sites.

4. Using recycled materials for packaging is an ecofriendly practice. According to the governmental online resource, Business Link, "using recycled materials in your packaging can enable you to cut costs and environmental impact.

5. Reducing the product-to-package ratio helps eliminate wastes. To reduce the amount of packaging used, Business Link suggests "eliminating unnecessary layers of packaging, reducing or eliminating the use of adhesives and tape" and using "embossing or in-mould direct printing to avoid using labels."

6. Using only raw materials and energy sources that are renewable helps maintain a balance in the ecosystem. An article from "Packaging Digest" states that "when we are talking about packaging, we are generally referring to fiber and other bio-based, renewable materials."

7. Since the packaging process can produce a lot of waste, companies should recycle materials that are not used. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that 31 million tons of plastic waste was generated in 2010, and only eight percent of that amount was recovered for recycling. Packaging divisions can do their part by increasing that percentage with recycling programs.

8. The chemicals used in packaging processes have a great impact on the environment. An article from "What They Think?" lists aspects to consider when choosing the right chemicals. They suggest "lowering the level of VOCs, using non-hazardous materials to manufacture, ensuring the product will not impede recycling or biodegradation while using bio-derived, naturally based, renewable raw materials."

9. Some companies improve their environmental impact by using light-weight materials like plastic rather than metal, glass or paper. The EPA states that "lighter weight materials require less fuel to transport and result in less material in the waste stream."

10. The package design should be carefully considered and altered for recycling. To achieve this goal, Business Link suggests "avoiding materials that are not standard and may cause recycling problems, making your packaging compatible with established recycling process, designing packaging that minimizes any product residue and ensuring your packaging can be easily disassembled."

Following just one of these practices will improve the environmental impact of a company. The most important things to consider are recycling programs and lower emission rates. By redesigning the packaging methods, companies can help achieve a greener future.