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Disclaimer: The postings in this blog section do not necessarily represent Desjardin's positions, strategies or opinions.

Health Implications of Biodegradable Packaging

Over the last decade biodegradable packaging has become a viable alternative to plastics. Biodegradable materials are made out of biopolymers, which are polymers made of naturally occurring molecules. They are often used in conjunction with metal containers to help seal perishables, like food and cosmetics. When used with metal containers they typically are found in the form of films, coatings, and bags.

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What is Biodegradable Packaging

The most commonly used material for packaging is plastic. Plastic is easy to make, but comes with a slew of environmental consequences, like long decomposition rates and damage to natural ecosystems. A great alternative to plastic packaging are metal containers made of tin and aluminum. These containers remove a lot of the issues created by plastic packaging. When metal containers are used for food and other perishables they often still require a plastic film, seal, or coating to completely protect the contents from coming into contact with air. In recent years biodegradable non-plastic packaging and films have begun to immerge as an alternative to standard plastic packaging. Biodegradable packaging is produced using biopolymers, which are molecules often found in living organisms, like cellulose and proteins. This means they can be safely consumed, degrade quickly, and often be created from waste plant products [4].

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Future Trends in Biodegradable Packaging

Aluminum packaging was first introduced in the late 1950’s. Over the last 60 years the metal packaging market has skyrocketed and now encompasses over $100 billion in yearly production with a projection of reaching $136 billion by 2020 [1]. Metal cans and containers are one of most consumed forms of packaging in many industries and are becoming more common in others, like food and cosmetics.

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Consumer Trends Towards Sustainable Packaging

Product packaging plays a role in nearly all purchasing consumers do. In 2016 the packaging market was valued at over USD 221 billion. The majority of this was packaging used for food and beverage, with over 75% of it being made of plastic [5]. Many consumers now know that plastic is generally a very unsustainable material because it has a high energy cost for production, takes a long time to degrade, and can be challenging to recycle. Even though plastic remains the most common material used in packaging, it’s percent of the total packaging market is slowly declining. This slow decline can be attributed to increased public awareness of its issues and increasing popularity of sustainable packaging.

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