With the world finally facing up to the scourge of plastic on our environment, and consumer demand rising for plastic-free packaging, the race is on for businesses to come up with sustainable solutions. From compostable cups to resealable cans and biodegradable glitter, here are the companies leading the way with sustainable packaging innovations in 2019:
1. Tetra Pak
Multi-national food packaging company Tetra Pak has become the first to offer full-colour digital printing on its cartons. The company says its new technology simplifies design handling, reduces the time from design to print, makes order placement and product customisation more flexible – and most importantly, removes the need for plastics in modern design-led packaging. Tetra Pak now only uses bioplastics derived from sugar cane instead of fossil fuels.
The company also recently launched its ‘Tetra Classic Aseptic’ 65ml cube packaging for dairy, juice and liquid food. The innovative design allows every six triangular packaged products to form a cube. This takes up less space, optimises distribution and storage, and requires less secondary packaging.
US-based Eco-Products is working on providing sustainable foodservice packaging made from renewable and recycled sources. Focusing on sustainable disposable products, the company produces hot and cold cups, paper food containers, utensils, stir sticks, and renewable, compostable straws, liners and bags that are all completely plastic-free.
The Novolex-owned brand has just launched its fully-compostable Cold Cup Sip Lids, which prevent spills and do not require a drinking straw when used.
Lickalix is the first frozen food brand in Europe to be awarded the ‘plastic-free trust’ mark by environmental campaign group A Plastic Planet – which advocates for an end to the use of plastic packaging in supermarkets. The UK-based firm produces handmade natural ice lollies and has just launched a new plant-based packaging that is 100 per cent compostible.
With a range catering for kids and adults, Lickalix prides itself on its “inventive flavours” such as strawberry lemonade, caribbean twist and natural cola. It also sells alcohol-based ice lollies, Poptails, including an Aperol Spritz flavour.
The ice lollies contain only organic ingredients, with no added flavours and are gluten, lactose and dairy free.
4. CanO Water
Last year a staggering four billion litres of bottled water were sold in the UK.
Drinks companies that currently use plastic bottles are actively searching for new ways to package their products. UK-based CanOWater has come up with the idea of packaging water in aluminium cans. Aluminium is infinitely recyclable and efficient to transport, as they pack tighter than bottles. It also keeps drinks colder for longer.
Offering both natural spring and sparkling spring water in 330ml and 550ml cans, CanOWater has developed a resealable mechanism so the drink does not have to be finished all at once.
Launched last year, Smol is a British laundry detergent capsule delivery company that aims to reduce the need to stockpile cleaning products.
Smol detergents are made from 90 per cent recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which should rise to 100 per cent by 2020. Its sleek, 100 per cent recycled and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved board packaging is watertight to protect its completely water soluble laundry capsules. They are also kept compact in order to use less plastic than its competitors. The Smol cardboard delivery boxes are also 100 per cent recyclable.
Smol is looking to further minimise its environmental impact by using biodegradable and bio-sourced packaging, such as corn or potato-based plastics and fibre pulp.
6. Ronald Britton
UK-based Ronald Britton, a metal powders and glitter supplier, has launched the world’s first biodegradable and plastic-free glitter, Bio-glitter, to be used in the packaging, print and coatings industries.
Designed to decompose in natural freshwater environments, Cosmetic Bio-glitter PURE is made using natural materials. The plastic-free glitter has been verified microplastic free by the European Union (EU) and certified ‘OK biodegradable water’ by technical service provider TÜV.
Ronald Britton says the Bioglitter is “completely durable as a glitter in product, but once it enters the natural environment, microbes will digest the glitter turning it into carbon dioxide, water and biomass.”