How to achieve sustainable packaging

The shipping industry not only employs millions of people worldwide, it also creates a huge and rising demand for packaging. Until recently the main criteria for packaging material were the price, the supply and how easy it can be handled.

sustainable packaging

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Circular economy: a guide to sustainable production
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Plastic or aluminium are just two examples of a wide range of versatile packaging options, all with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Today consumers and politicians alike are asking for sustainable and reusable packaging – this can be quite a challenging demand to respond to for many companies. In this article, we will show you how to approach this question.

Criteria for proper packaging

The sustainability of packaging is affected by multiple criteria, such as the quality of the raw materials, the duration of use and recyclability.

Some common problems with many packaging materials are that they are non-degradable, non-recyclable or are disposed of in the wrong way.

Additionally, some products that are getting recycled produce waste that is toxic for humans and nature alike, such as arsenic. Often, they contain problematic ingredients that are undeclared or untested. This shows that different factors have an impact on sustainability and need to be thought of when choosing a packaging material.

One recommendable option is cardboard because it is extensively recyclable and, in many cases, biodegradable. Cardboard is available with an FSC certification and therefore guaranteed to come out of sustainable forestry.

Because cardboard is also easy to handle, hygienic and versatile, it is a good alternative.

Other sustainable alternatives for different kind of packaging are plant starch, grass fibres or hemp. Of course, the use of adhesives is often necessary. Because adhesives include chemical ingredients, it is again very important to choose them wisely. They must be based on water instead of toxic solvents. Furthermore, the adhesives must not include any harmful substances or so-called grey chemicals, which means it is not clear what chemicals are found inside and if they have negative impacts on nature and humans.

Producing sustainable packaging with ALFAPURA®

The trouble with harmful substances in adhesives is not just their direct impact but also the fact that they reduce the recyclability of cardboard as well.

To combat this challenge, we set ourselves the goal of developing a sustainable adhesive that does not contain any harmful substances (neither to humans nor to nature) and does not impact the sustainability of the cardboard packaging in any way.

The result: ALFAPURA® 1635

One of our packaging specialists is ALFAPURA® 1635, suitable for paper and cardboard. This water-based synthetic resin adhesive can be applied with a nozzle or a wheel. It is almost transparent, has a blunt adhesive film and will keep your folding boxes in place with its strong tack.

Cradle-to-Cradle certified®

Do you doubt that it is possible to produce an eco-friendly adhesive completely compatible with a circular economy?

Well, it was not easy to achieve this ambitious goal, but our certification by the Cradle-to-Cradle Products Innovation Institute is a testament to our success. We are proud to have received the Material Health Certificate GOLD, which confirms the harmlessness of all our adhesives, none of which are carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic for reproduction.

But this certification does not just prize the ingredients, it reviews the entire value chain of a product: The Cradle to Cradle Certified® programme stands for a concept of sustainability and circular economy that takes social, ecological, and economic perspectives into account.

These perspectives also include the amount of energy that is used to produce the material and especially what kind of energy. Our headquarters in Rafz, where production takes place, is 70% powered by solar energy from our roof panels.

Cradle-to-Cradle certified

The Cradle-to-Cradle Certification® is a way to validate products and companies for their sustainability irrespective of their industry.

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Cradle-to-Cradle certified

How to become certified

Are you looking for ways to produce sustainable packaging yourself? Or do you want to upgrade the sustainability level of your other products as well?

The Cradle-to-Cradle Certification® is not just available for adhesives, it is completely product-independent. Show your customers that you are doing more than just putting an “eco-friendly” label on your product.

As already mentioned, every aspect of the value chain of your product is considered. That is why it is necessary to evaluate every raw material in use, especially its origin, the way it is extracted, and how it impacts nature. One way is to get in touch with the suppliers directly.

Alternatively, the raw materials of uncertain origin can simply be replaced with certified ingredients. But this is easier said than done because depending on the field, more or fewer options are available.

In terms of adhesives for the packaging industry, ALFAPURA® is the only one with a Material Health Certificate GOLD certificate.
Cradle-to-Cradle certification - How does it work?

Find out more about the Cradle-to-Cradle certification process.

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Cradle-to-Cradle certification - How does it work?

Because we want to help more companies in achieving sustainable products, we are steadily developing new solutions. If you are looking for a sustainable adhesive – irrespective of the industry – please contact us. Our experts are happy to talk to you about our different products.

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