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Nine golden rules for sustainable packaging

  • 17 October 2023

In the ever-growing and changing world of consumption, it has become essential to re-examine how we package food. Especially now, as the call for sustainability grows louder. A groundbreaking study, titled 'Well Packaged', has shed light on the most pressing dilemmas in sustainable packaging, presenting us with nine fundamental rules for its effective implementation.

This research, a collaboration between HAS Green Academy, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, primarily focused on the packaging of vegetables, fruits, ready-to-eat meals, and portion packs. The aim? To discover innovative and environmentally-friendly product-packaging combinations.

These institutions identified eleven key sustainability dilemmas businesses grapple with. Examples include balancing perceived and calculated sustainability, or the choice between preventing food waste and using fewer packages.

From this in-depth research, nine golden rules for sustainable packaging emerged:

  • Lead with your own intrinsic motivation towards sustainability and use your influence to persuade others of its importance.
  • Invest in preventing food waste throughout the entire supply chain.
  • Rely on calculated sustainability (Life Cycle Assessments - LCAs) and inform consumers about this choice.
  • Opt for the most sustainable packaging possible (based on LCA) and adjust your branding accordingly.
  • Invest promptly in more sustainable ingredients, materials, and designs.
  • Opt for as minimal overpackaging as possible: set agreements within the supply chain to ensure a level playing field.
  • Where feasible, select reusable packaging.
  • If reusable packaging isn't an option, prioritize recyclable mono-material packaging and use as much recycled content as possible.
  • In the long run, seek biodegradable packaging or coatings derived from AGF waste streams.

KIDV played a pivotal role in this research, providing students and researchers with essential knowledge and tools. With these insights and guidelines, the path to a more sustainable packaging landscape has never been clearer. 

Read the complete publication. (Dutch only)

Source: KIDV