A look at sustainable packaging

A look at sustainable packaging

Andrew Copson, managing director, Sharp Interpack Yate, discusses environmentally friendly new packaging solutions which are designed to cut waste and extend shelf life.   

The one overarching theme that has dominated 2010 is the environmental agenda and the need to reduce packaging’s carbon footprint. In many cases this goes hand in hand with innovation.

At Sharpak we are laying down our commitment to reducing the impact of packaging on the environment through innovative design and products that go further than any others on the market to reduce waste.

This year for example, we have launched our c-Low mushroom punnet. Similar carbon low materials are a pre-cursor to future applications in poultry, meat and fresh produce.

c-Low has been developed in response to our ongoing commitment to reduce the environmental impact of our packaging products. It is manufactured with a rib design to maximise strength and ensure the contents are protected during transit. c-Low represents a reduction in virgin petro-chemical content making it one of the lowest carbon footprint punnets available on the market today.

At Sharpak we have also introduced new design technologies such as Modified Atmosphere Packaging and SPS air, which extends the shelf life of fresh food products.

Modified Atmosphere Packaging substitutes the atmospheric air inside a package with a protective gas mix that helps ensure the product stays as fresh for as long as possible, while SPS air offers significant air flow improvements which aids fruit conservation. Alongside this, our shelf ready promotional packaging for meat and poultry has reduced handling time and cost.

Increasing shelf life through natural methods reduces food waste. Enhanced shelf life and reducing food wastage will provide huge benefits to the consumer and the environment and we are pleased to be playing a major part in this.

At Sharpak we also strongly support any initiatives that promote plastic packaging recycling in the UK. In principle, all the packaging that we produce could be recycled – it is a tragic waste of resources to see the majority of it not being collected for recycling.

We would like to see local authorities being more pro-active about this issue and work with the plastic supply chain by introducing more high quality, kerbside collection schemes for packaging. We have been party to an example of good practice in the Netherlands, where we are co-operating with the Dutch “Plastic Heroes” recycling scheme which will lead to 42% of all Dutch plastic packaging being effectively recycled by the end of 2012.

We are in an industry which has made significant inroads into reducing its carbon footprint and one which continues to strive for improvement.  

At Sharpak, we remain committed long-term to delivering environmentally friendly packaging solutions to our customer’s that never loses sight of practicality. Our business will evolve in a way that sees packaging remain user friendly and which meets retail demands of convenience and cost, while reducing carbon footprint and aiding to the sustainability of our planet.

Stephanie Cornwall
Stephanie Cornwall