Zero-waste, reusables, closed loop recycling - these are the reasons why consumers and business owners are excited about SwapBox, yet as soon as we say SwapBox is made out of polypropylene plastic - we receive raised eyebrows and disapproving looks. In the previous article, we concluded that reusable packaging is the most sustainable way forward. The natural question is - why are SwapBoxes made of plastic? After all, plastic is bad. Right? Why not use glass or metal? While they are perfect for household usage, when implemented in a reusable system, they are less practical and more costly than plastic.
Here is an overview of the different types of reusable packaging materials:
A note on bamboo: On December 10th, 2020 the FPS Public Health, Food Safety and Environment published a note on their website to clarify that plastic products with bamboo fibres (or other natural fibres not listed in Annex 1 to Regulation (EU) 10/2011) are illegal and therefore should not be sold on the European market. (read more here)
At SwapBox we use polypropylene plastic as our reusable food packaging. It is durable, lightweight, and a versatile food container.
Image credits: SwapBox and Kuko Poké
Polypropylene has the potential to create substantial change in the world of food packaging. In the long run, under proper treatment, it can outperform other materials in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and waste. To get a better understanding of why that is, we interviewed our SwapBox packaging supplier, Myriam, from DBP Durable Branded Plastics:
“Why did you choose polypropylene (PP) as your food packaging material?”
The main reason we chose PP was its recycling possibilities. Before choosing PP, we conducted a large study looking into different possible materials for our food containers. It [PP] has the highest percentage of recycling potential compared to other reusable materials. Additionally, it is dishwasher, freezer and microwave proof, which makes it an ideal material to hold food. We have all migration certificates for 100% safe food contact.
“What are the production emissions of PP?”
Recent research has focused on the comparisons of different packaging materials and the amount of CO2 emissions they produce. Evidence shows that PP is more environmentally friendly than other materials. The production of PP is also clean, with minimal heat and water waste. We use electric machines [63% of the power is from renewable energy sources] to produce our packaging, greatly reducing emissions.
“Where do you see the use of PP in five to ten years?”
I dream of a world without single-use plastics and where we won’t need oil to produce plastic. With ongoing research, time and money, I hope we will find ways to make PP without the use of oil, through only renewable sources.
“How is SwapBox helping combat the waste crisis?”
SwapBox is creating a community of people who think in the same way and want to help the world. This inspires people to change their mindsets.
Reusable packaging is our best solution to reducing packaging waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Glass and metal may work for low volume operations or domestic usage, however, for the large-scale and high volume reusable packaging system that is being developed by SwapBox, polypropylene plastic (PP) is the most suitable material. With PP, we are able to develop a product range that not only fits the needs of food businesses, but also fits our business model with low cost, lightweight, and 100% recyclable packaging. SwapBox has made plastic packaging sustainable, so the next time you order takeout, choose reusables and choose SwapBox.