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How to lower your environmental impact in your packaging purchase?

25 Mar 2022 —
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As environmental concerns become a recurring theme for everyone, industrial packaging is an important area for improvement, Deborah Dorosz, CSR Manager at Antalis, answers the questions you should pose when purchasing packaging.

As environmental concerns become a recurring theme for everyone, industrial packaging is an important area for improvement, Deborah Dorosz, CSR Manager at Antalis, answers the questions you should pose when purchasing packaging.

What criteria should you look out for when purchasing packaging products?

Even more than before sustainability is key in every business decision, and what goes for packaging goes for all other activities.
I see four main challenges when selecting a range of products and choosing supplies: product origin, composition, impact on health and recyclability.

 

How do we address these 4 challenges? By answering the following fundamental questions:

- Where does my product come from?

Where was it produced? Does the producer have any certification related to its production process (ISO 14 001 for environment, ISO 9001 for quality, any Ecolabel, etc.) and to the product itself (FSC or PEFC certification for example, if the product is made of wood fibres)? There is a list of basic but essential documents or answers that you need to get from the supplier.

 

- What is the product made of?

Is it mono-material or multi-material? Made of plastic, wood fibres or something else? You should ask for a technical data sheet and the exact composition of the product.

 

- Is it safe for my customers to use?

What about the chemical substance found in my product, like endocrine disruptors or other nanomaterials? Is it REACH compliant? Is it ok for food contact or child safety?

What you need here is a Safety Data Sheet at other useful information from the supplier.

 

- What do we do with it when we no longer need it?

Is it recyclable? If so how? What are the sorting instructions? Are there easily accessible recycling facilities in each country the product is distributed? If not the chances are the packaging will end up incinerated or in landfill, this would mean it's not a sustainable option.

 

 

Sustainable Packaging Choices

 

What simple things can industries do to have a more sustainable approach to purchasing?

If you cannot systematically replace a material with something more sustainable, then I believe you should focus on the steps below:

- Choose mono-material products when possible

- Get precise information about composition and recyclability from the manufacturer

- In every country you operate clearly identify the availability of existing recycling facilities for all the recycling materials that you use.

- Train your local teams so that they’re able to advise your customers on managing the end of life of your products

 

 

recycled cardboard

Can you tell us more about the environmental approach of Antalis Packaging?

We are fully aware that most of the packaging products we sell have a short life and that environmental concerns have become a major challenge for both our customers and ourselves.

In a world where every action has an impact on the environment, a more sustainable approach must be chosen. We believe that tomorrow's success and reliance is rooted in being responsible and making smart decisions today.

We have developed our sustainable environmental approach, reviewing our entire value chain, from product sourcing and design to distribution and recycling. In a nutshell we have considered the complete packaging life-cycle across the following four pillars: 

Sourcing IconSOURCING

For greater traceability and a responsible choice of suppliers and base materials.

Design Icon

DESIGN

For a circular economic model anticipated by our Packaging Designers at the start of every project.

Distribution Icon

DISTRIBUTION

For more efficient processes that reduce the environmental footprint.

Recycling Icon

RECYCLING

For renewed cooperation across the entire value chain.

As a result, we decided to make changes to promote and include more renewable and recycled materials; highlight products manufactured in factories with environmental management systems; promote reusable and/or recyclable products and, of course, encourage our customers to sort and recover their packaging waste.