Packaging manufacturers are developing viable, sustainable options at a greater rate as the demand and need is growing. As a packaging supplier, we strive to source materials that not only suit our clients' unique requirements, but we also go the extra mile to develop strategies for reducing waste and creating a cleaner footprint. From our custom engineering capabilities to our service team, each Summit Packaging team member is part of the collaborative effort to reduce waste, and increase efficiency.
Summit Packaging frequently engages with national leaders at the forefront of sustainable packaging development and policy, in order to deliver material options and strategies to our network. For each of our clients, we take the time to get to know their people and products, so that we can create accurate and informed recommendations. One size or style most definitely does not fit all, so we approach every new product with an open mind to find the best packaging option. If you are looking for sustainable packaging options, but don't know where to start, our technical experts will put in the time and research to find the best option for you.
Post-Consumer Recyclables (PCR) + Post Industrial Recyclables (PIR)
What are PCR and PIR, and how are they different? Post-consumer are plastics that are recycled by consumers, meaning they were used for their intended purpose, and then put out on the curb or specified store-drop-off location to be recycled. Post-industrial are plastics that come from industrial manufacturing facilities, which were used in production but never made it to the customer. Both of these products have the potential to be re-ground and re-used in other products to match your current package style.
Recycle Ready Plastics
A question that we hear again and again is “How do I know if this plastic is recyclable?”. The unfortunate answer is that historically, lots of plastic packaging is not easily recyclable without taking several steps to prepare it. Many contain several layers of plastic that need to be cleaned and separated before they can be put out on the curb or taken to a certified recycling facility.
New packaging innovations are making way for plastics that are “recycle ready”. These packaging options allow for the consumer to easily recycle, without extra steps or confusion.
These innovations include:
- Mono-layered films (single-layered plastics)
- Machine Direction Oriented mono-layered films for similar strength of a laminated option
- Laminated Films using single-resin type
- How2Recycle Labeling
Biodegradable + Compostable
Not all products may be eligible to be packaged in compostable materials, but more are than you might think. These materials allow companies and customers to work in tandem to reduce waste and carbon footprint. Biodegradable and compostable packaging materials are being developed in a greater capacity, and come in all styles and bases, including paper pulp, plant-based plastics, or mushroom packaging. Yes, mushroom-based packaging!
Some characteristics of these material types are:
- Films that can degrade in 12 weeks when processed at a commercial composting facility, or some that can biodegrade in a maximum of 44 days
- Suitable for home and/or industrial composting
- ASTM D6400 (USA) and EN 13432 (EU) standards
Paper-based materials are one of the most commonly used packaging materials that we consider to be eco-friendly. The availability and consumer-ease for recycling paper have been historically higher.
Examples of paper-based packaging materials:
- Recycled corrugated (cardboard)
- PCR Kraft Paper (rollstock, pre-made pouches, and more)
Reduced Packaging Material
Consumers are seeking products with less overall packaging. We've all experienced unboxing something you bought online, and finding way too much plastic and foam that end up going straight to the landfill. Increasingly, there are options for safely shipping your products, while greatly reducing the amount of void fill used.
Examples of Minimal Packaging Options may include:
- Dim-weight reduction
- Downgauging film