Flexible Packaging and the Environment

The packaging industry in Australia is facing a lot of changes right now, especially with its impact on the environment coming increasingly into focus. As a flexible packaging solution provider, we take a multi-stepped approach, developing specifications to minimise the environmental impact of our customers’ products. Most FPS products are specifically engineered to provide high barrier and ease of processing, especially in food filling applications, whilst at a commercially viable price point. However, we have identified a need to continuously evolve with our customers’ changing needs towards being more sustainable and being able to contribute to a closed-loop process for recycling.

Multi layer film products have typically not been recyclable and mono web flexible films traditionally do not fall into council recycling schemes. This has meant recycling initiatives have been difficult to utilise. So instead, FPS has worked with its customers to engineer their products, so unnecessary volumes of plastic are not being used. In essence, we have developed a specification that keeps the overall film weight to a minimum, balanced with maintaining the product’s integrity.

“Single-use” packaging, such as that of fruit and vegetables, provides hygienic ways to purchase food and reduce waste. Flexible packaging helps prevent product loss and dramatically extends shelf life, while allowing more product to be shipped with less packaging material—reducing product waste and packaging waste. Innovations such as the unique laser equipment at FPS also help in reducing food wastage in homes. It is designed to help fresh produce respire and avoid a build-up of gasses in the pack, while macro holes allow for moisture levels to remain balanced within the packaging. Allowing fresh produce to breathe ensures that food is both protected and preserved with greater efficiency throughout distribution and retail display.

There has been flexible, single layer, fully compostable, packaging materials available for several years. These materials have been further developed, enabling the fresh produce market to now be offered their environmental benefits. Also, there has been new biopolymers developed, enabling laminated compostable structures to be produced. While they are expensive when compared to traditional materials, they are more environment-friendly, thus making products in such packaging more desirable for purchase. FPS can offer these materials, and when combined with our laser technology, you have a film that extends shelf life and composts in a few weeks.