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Plant Fiber Based Packaging

A growing trend in packaging design and shipping insulation is the use of eco-friendly materials considered biodegradable and recyclable. Companies are becoming more and more socially responsible and aware that plant-based materials are a safe solution to reducing waste in landfills.

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Companies such as TemperPack create packing made from recycled burlap bags originally used to ship cocoa and coffee, replacing the consumer need for plastic liners in the e-commerce industry. Online businesses have boomed causing an increase in packing material that piles up on the consumer end. While plastic packaging doesn’t biodegrade and outlasts most of the items originally shipped, jute and other plant-based products can now be easily discarded for reuse or composted immediately.

Plated is a meal kit service that uses these recycled bags made of fiber from the jute plant. It chose the burlap material because jute is inexpensive to grow, durable, and renewable. It also creates the least amount of waste.

Jute is used to produce sacks for shipping dry goods and, in trade cities around the world, these bags number in the millions. Other plant fibers like flax and cotton work as well.

Here are some examples of how companies are using plant fiber for package design and packing material:

  • A company called 60BAG makes natural, biodegradable carrier bags out of flax-viscose non-woven fabric that break down in 60 days.
  • Apple has used jute cases as an alternative to the nylon covers for Mac Book Pros and Ipads to minimize package design. Using jute was also to create consumer awareness of recyclable and reusable options.
  • Many dried fruit and nut market vendors now reuse their distributor’s sacks to deliver the items to the market. The bags would normally be disposed of by the vendors, but are now being reused to reduce waste and differentiate their products. Many of these are made of recycled paper and lined with food grade poly material.
  • Online tea companies are using gunny fabric to wrap loose leaf tea safely and keep it dry.
  • A company called Natural Tableware creates disposable dishware made out of fallen palm leaves.

Shipping and manufacturing companies are providing more molded fiber. It was previously only used for interior packing, but with more creative design expertise, is now being used for attractive exterior consumer packaging. This product is made of recycled newspaper and water or molded pulp.blog3-2

The use of polystyrene or Styrofoam products for shipping frozen and refrigerated goods are quickly being replaced. A cooler can take 500 years to decompose completely and is bulky. Collapsible box liners made of dense polyurethane foam are lighter weight and more desirable to recycling companies for use in secondary markets like carpet padding or other bonded material. Cotton-based panels wrapped in an eco-friendly film are designed to biodegrade quickly and can be made collapsible to collect, recycle, and save space in the landfill. No more Styrofoam insulation or excessive product wrapping.

Packaging is for temporary use so why not make it out of temporary or reusable plant fiber materials?

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 20th, 2016 at 10:31 am and is filed under Agricultural Packaging, Go Green, Jute, Plant Fiber.

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