Greenwashing: What is bioplastic, compostable and biodegradable packaging anyway?
With the recent implementation of the amended regulations pertaining to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), under the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008, industry jargon is splashed all over the media. Terms such as biodegradability, compostable packaging, renewable content and bioplastics are the talk of the town, but what does this really mean? We want to encourage consumers and value chain members to trust, but verify!
Packaging: the benefit, the design, the impact
At least 80% of the environmental impact of a packaging item is determined during the design phase. The Mpact design centre can expertly design packaging that optimises the environmental benefit, performance and product-material ratio and fully comply with sustainable design principles.
There is no simple answer as to which packaging medium is the best for the environment. Truly sustainable packaging decisions are more complex than simply replacing one material with another. As an example, some materials may enjoy a smaller carbon footprint but require more water or heat to convert, thereby, affecting the cradle-to-cradle environmental impact. Being lightweight, durable and flexible, the unique nature of plastics means that it naturally reduces a variety of environmental impacts across resources such as energy, water and greenhouse emissions, compared to its alternatives.
You may think our answer is obvious and potentially in contrast to those who believe that plastic is nothing but a pollutant. If most of our answer lies within the question, should the question not rather be ‘why plastics cannot be banned?’ Here’s our perspective…
MPACT PLASTICS 9 JUN 2021
Terminology: using the same lingo
Being vague about industry terms will only solve half of the challenges that we as stakeholders face! Greenwashing is the act of misleading consumers regarding environmental practices or environmental benefits pertaining to a packaging item or a company’s product or service.
Clarity and education regarding industry terminology is the fuel that will not only drive us forward but also draw our efforts together!