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Future of Plastic in the Custom Food Packaging Industry

Oct 21st 2015 at 3:55 AM

When it comes to food packaging, plastic is widely used by the industry in different forms and in spite of the popular belief plastic is not always the worst choice for packaging – even from an environmental point of view. Compared to other materials like glass, those are normally considered as eco-friendly plastic certainly brings in a few benefits. Both glass and plastic can be recycled and in reality, more than 40% of total used plastic containers are recycled every year while only 20% of used glass containers are recycled. This is certainly one major advantage of plastic food packaging, for this is an industry that uses plastic extensively and major portion of plastic waste that is accumulated every year also comes from plastic food packets. There is absolutely no doubt that plastic debris is a huge threat to our environment but still it is widely used for different reasons and unfortunately their low cost is not the only reason for that.

Cost is never the only factor that is considered while deciding upon the packaging material for a particular product and factors like shape, weight, cost and recyclability are also required to be addressed. For instance PET and other types of plastic packaging – especially thermoformed packaging is extensively used by the food industry and the major benefit of using plastic offer is the flexibility it offers. Though glass can be shaped for packaging a whole range of products, plastic certainly offers more possibilities and apart from bottles and containers can be usually molded in many custom shapes.

There is another reason for which plastic is still preferred by the custom food packaging industry and compared to glass or other rigid materials they acquire less storage space on the shelves allowing the retailers to store and display more products. As the industry caters to a market in which customers are more prone to making bulk purchases, weight of the package is an important factor to consider and customers are also found to appreciate plastic more than glass. Weight and space is a big deal from a logistics perspective too, more plastic containers can be crammed in a single truck and that obviously helps the manufacturers in keeping the transportation cost down.

When it comes to recyclability, both thermoformed plastic and glass can be recycled but in reality plastic is recycled a lot more than glass. This is because recycling of glass requires a lot more energy than that of plastic and there is another reason for which glass recycling is not that profitable. Energy required for recycling glass is equal to 66% of the energy required for making new glass while plastic recycling requires only 10% of the energy that is required for making new plastics. We can never say that thermoformed plastic is the best choice for food packaging or any other packaging industry and if we consider its toxic effect on the environment – its use must be stopped under all circumstances. But there are still questions to be solved and it is the responsibility of the society in general and the packaging industry in particular to solve this huge problem. If you want to know more on this topic, you can visit Southpack.com.

About The Author

Megan Jones is an expert in modern industrial packaging systems who also loves to write many interesting articles and blogs, helping businesses in making the best choices for their manufactured products. She recommends SouthPack.com as the number one name to trust if you are looking for plastic packaging manufacturers in the US.

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