The shift from unsustainable packaging to sustainable packaging is essential in the fight against climate change, natural resource depletion, and ocean pollution. The most infamous of unsustainable packaging is single-use plastics, which thankfully will be banned in the EU this coming July. Many businesses and consumers have already made the conscious effort to adopt sustainable packaging made of biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable materials. So, plastic is evil, and we can feel good about our bagasse, sugarcane, and carton takeout boxes and carry on with our consumption habits. Not quite.
There remains one major problem - current sustainable packaging options are predominantly single-use. Yes, we have banned single-use plastics, however, sustainable single-use packaging also requires land, energy, and transportation to create, distribute, dispose of or recycle the materials. In Europe, 40% of plastic packaging is recycled, however, contrary to belief, much less of that is actually re-processed as recycling and is highly dependent on proper sorting of materials. For example, when putting packaging in the recycling bin, most people do not clean the packaging, which then ends up burned instead of recycled. (Read more here)
In the table below, we share the pros and cons of four types of sustainable packaging:
Of the four types, reusable packaging stands out for being zero-waste. With the right system in place, it can replace single-use or other types of sustainable packaging, such as takeaway boxes, coffee cups or single-use plastic bags. It outperforms recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable packaging in functionality, cost-effectiveness, and long term environmental impact. The higher upfront cost of reusable packaging is spread out over a high number of uses, ultimately making it more cost-competitive compared to single-use packaging. Lastly, the biggest advantage of reusable packaging is that, through an efficient closed-loop system, it can be collected, recycled and reprocessed at the end of its life, for an infinite amount of time.
At SwapBox, our reusable packaging is made of polypropylene plastic and produced in Belgium. Our product is high quality, leakproof, and microwavable (without the lid). By using a SwapBox two times, more CO2 has been saved than by the best alternative packaging. Each SwapBox has been tested to be used up to 500 times and can be fully recycled into a new SwapBox at the end of its lifetime.
Let’s get practical for a minute. Imagine yourself ordering Ramen for delivery. After a bumpy scooter ride, the food arrives with the lid slightly open, the soup wrapped in plastic and dripping everywhere. Now, compare that to the SwapBox Ramen experience - no leak, no mess, no cardboard taste.