Sustainable packaging is on the tip of everyones tongue, but what are the realistic options availabe to manufacturers? Below we take a look at some of the key sustainable options for products packaged in bags.

Paper Bags

Paper Positives: 

  • Offers a sustainable look & feel to consumers
  • Easy to recycle (curbside recycling)
  • Better for the environment. Low emissions through the packaging cycle

Paper Negatives: 

  • Pure paper faces issues when dealing with oily, wet or liquid products
  • Less versatility than plastics
  • Potential higher price
  • Tear/Damage risk

Paper is a well recognised form of recyclable material which conveys its sustainability to consumers both visibly and by touch, making it the most beneficial in expressing the sustainable message to consumers.

Although paper packaging has been around for a long time, its use in modern packaging practices as primary packaging has seen a resurgence. With barrier and speed requirements providing previous limitations, Australian manufacturers are only now looking at this as a feasible sustainable packaging option for high speed production.

With the evolution in technology, and in turn packaging materials, the improvement in barrier properties has also opened up greater protection to the product contents, allowing wider scope of usability.

Machinery, such as Syntegon’s Form Fill & Seal machines offer high speed packaging solutions for paper materials, ensuring manufacturers do not need to sacrifice efficiency for recyclability. These solutions have also helped to solve challenges with sealing in a delicate and sustainable fashion.

Nupac supply vertical baggers that can process paper to produce the most popular bag styles (Pillow, Gusseted, Block-bottom, Corner seal and Doy stand-up bags. By applying sealing agent only selectively, Nupac can achieve fiber content of up to 95 percent and help you move towards sustainable packaging. We also offer retrofits for an easy transition to paper packaging.

Paper-Based Confectionary Packaging | Case Study
Paper Pasta Packaging | Case Study
Monomaterial Paper | Case Study

Mono Materials

Mono Material Positives: 

  • Strong barrier, protects product quality and integrity
  • Easier to recycle than other plastics
  • Aesthetically pleasing packaging
  • Flexible in usability

Mono Material Negatives: 

  • Requires specific recycling channels
  • Some application limitations
  • Requires machinery compatibility

Mono-material films are another option for packaging products sustainably while reducing plastic content. Mono-materials (plastic) are made up of single materials, as opposed to multilayered plastic laminates which usually combine multiple different plastics. The most commonly available mono material options are mono PP (Polypropylene) and mono PE (Polyethylene).

An important factor to note for manufacturers looking at mono-material solutions is the sealing requirements necessary. Mono-material, especially polyethylene-based structures may require modified sealing technology, especially in the high-output range, as regular sealing technology may lead to defective seals and damaged products.
Working with strong partners throughout the process is imperative to ensure the right outcome with mono material solutions.

The biggest issue surrounding mono materials, especially in Australia is the processing pathway for recyclability. These materials are not currently curbside recyclable and will need to be separately recycled (through soft plastic channels). This makes the recycling process challenging for consumers.

Globally this recycling process is becoming more and more accessible and is something that will only continue to develop in Australia, with some businesses already establishing their own recycling channels for mono materials.

Mono-material meets grass fibre
Mono-material barrier solution with high performance
Watch | PE Material on FME 50

Reducing Plastic Usage

Reducing material usage in production is another way to increase overall sustainability.
There are many ways manufacturers can look at doing this, from the way their products are packaged to the packaging of raw materials and inputs.

If manufacturers can evaluate their production and packaging to increase efficiecies of material usage they can take steps towards increasing the overall sustainability of thier company.

A solution which Syntegon have proposed to the market is the usage of special BOPE film. This concept is a 20 micrometer thin BOPE film which can be used on Syntegon equipment for frozen food.

By using such a film, manufacturers can significantly reduce their film thickness, with potential packaging material reductions of 35%- 50% compared to blown PE films such as LDPE.

Additionally sealing technology such as the PHS 2.0 from Syntegon reduces the clamped film during the sealing process by 25%, allowing you to pack the same weight of the product while using up to 6.8% less film per bag.

Find out more about sustainable options for your packaging