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2021, year of packaging re-design: how to choose eco-friendly packaging?

2021 is undoubtedly the year of packaging re-design: increasingly more companies, especially in the food sector, are redesigning their packaging and testing new materials. To stay relevant in a market that is sensitive to the themes of the green economy, the packaging must always be redesigned in a view of resource optimisation and for a sustainable end of life: for consumers the role of packaging in protecting the environment is important and the wrapping is the fundamental driver in the choice of product purchase.

The last Observatory “Consumer Packaging” by Nomisma in collaboration with Spinlife highlights how 59% of Italians prefer purchasing products packaged in sustainable packaging. The on pack information is crucial and 75% of Italians declare that they look for information on the sustainability of the products by reading the label.

Eco-friendly flexible packages can be grouped into three macro-categories: recyclable paper packaging, recyclable plastic packaging and compostable packaging. With the end of life in mind, SDR PACK has developed a range of eco-friendly packaging also suitable for packaging in modified atmosphere and suitable for food contact.

What solution should you choose for your product? 

Recyclable packaging with paper

Paper packaging has always conveyed the idea of an artisan product and is one of the greatest trends on the market in 2021: negative media coverage of plastic in recent years has led to the request to reduce the use of this material in favour of other solutions. Paper, also thanks to a consolidated recycle supply chain, has often been perceived as the sustainable material par excellence and if used for the packaging of a product, it can aid the purchase choice.  

Paper packaging recyclability must be tested according to standard UNI 11743:2019 and Aticelca® Evaluation System 501. As for productivity, it is necessary to consider that the cellulose fibres have a different mechanical strength than plastic films, and it may be necessary, during packaging, to apply different machine speed and temperature settings: minor solutions that make it possible to achieve excellent performance, saving valuable time-work. 


Images on the left: recyclable packaging with paper by Mobilpesca, Altromercato and Sgambaro.

Recyclable packaging with plastic

Another solution is plastic recyclable packaging: when we talk about “plastic” in the singular, we underestimate the fact that there are different types of “plastics”, recyclable and non-recyclable, with different impacts. The health emergency made us rediscover the value of plastic and reassess this precious tool for the important role that it provides in terms of product protection and preservation.

Therefore, considering plastic as a resource, it is possible to choose mono-material recyclable packaging that has the same performance as traditional non-recyclable laminates, but with the bonus of being recovered at the end of their life. Plastic packaging certainly has the bonus of being easily processable to guarantee excellent performance in terms of production and of being more economic than other eco-friendly solutions.


Images on the right: the recyclable packaging by Barilla, Tedesco Group and Surmont.

Compostable packaging

In terms of green packaging, the most innovative solution is certainly biodegradable and compostable packaging. Certified compostable packaging can be thrown away with the compost waste intended for industrial composting and degrade into compost within a few months. They are customisable with printing within the restrictions set forth by reference standard EN 13432 and are exempt from the Plastic Tax that will come into force on 1st July 2021.


Images on the left: the compostable packaging by Madiventura and  Maser Formaggi


Restyling packaging and productivity: our Research and development at the service of the Customer

Redesigning packaging, possibly choosing to replace a traditional material with an eco-friendly one, means assessing the production cycle in a way that often stops this path from being taken.

Each material has its special characteristics and in some cases it may be necessary to make minor changes to packaging parameters to optimise the performance of the packaging. For this very reason, SDR PACK offers a consultancy service based on experience and testing on machines, to aid customers transition from one material to another. 


For more information about our eco-friendly packaging solutions: