ECO-FRIENDLY PACKAGING: DESIGNING BETTER WITH LESS

Eco-design: an innovative approach that focuses on prevention as a means of minimizing the impact of packaging on the environment.

Short-lived, sometimes bulky, packaging has been an integral part of our daily lives for many years now. And it hasn’t stopped changing! The agri-food industry, the largest user of packaging, is also the primary vector for innovation in the sector.

Packaging is not useless!

Often criticized and accused of being a source of contamination and pollution, we often forget that packaging serves many purposes. The main function of packaging is to preserve and protect the product as it moves down the chain, from producer to consumer by way of transportation and intermediate storage. It helps to prevent spoilage and damage, which would result in economic and ecological loss! Good packaging also helps to guarantee the health and safety of consumers. Packaging serves several other purposes, such as displaying information, marketing, and diversifying and presenting products in various portions.

Packaging and over packaging: the confusion

When we think of the environment and packaging, we inevitably think of waste. The problem often arises from over packaging, rather than the packaging itself. This problem is costly for manufacturers and is very annoying for consumers. In Québec, the adoption of new environmental standards, which come at the same time as regulations 102 and 130, may well bring on a new era in packaging design. That’s good news!

Eco-design: reconciling the environment with packaging

For all businesses in the agri-food sector, “producing better with less” is becoming an urgent matter. The solution may lie in eco-design, an innovative approach that focuses on prevention as a means of minimizing the impact of packaging on the environment throughout its life cycle. It involves reducing at the source, reusing and recycling, and promoting the use of renewable materials in the designing process. This approach is often advantageous for companies since, in most cases, it helps to increase profits, through increased sales and a reduction in production costs. It reinforces the brand image, demonstrating a true commitment to environmental responsibility, which is also an excellent way to set yourself apart from the competition.

What about you? Do you pay close attention to packaging when you’re shopping? Do you avoid buying certain products because they’re over-packaged?

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About the Author
Islem Yezza

Islem Yezza is a Technical Business Development Director at Cascades. He has worked both in academic and private sectors, notably he occupied the position of R&D manager of an international flexible packaging Group. He earned his PhD in bioprocess engineering from the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS). After graduating, NSERC awarded him a post-doctoral fellowship at the Biotechnology Research Institute (BRI-NRC). One major achievement of his research: the development of an innovative process for the production of biopolymer using maple sap as feedstock, for which he obtained a patent. Islem published regularly peer-reviewed papers and made contributions to national and international conferences. He has given several interviews in different media as a specialist in sustainable and smart packaging.

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