RESPONSIBLE | No plastic: paper alternatives
In this blog series, we research the impact of packing materials. Not every type is sustainable by definition. Thanks to the thesis of intern Dionne Rens (Sustainable Value Chains), FleuraMetz can give more insight on the impact of different packing materials. Part 3: no plastic.
Earlier, you were able to read about the impact of different types of plastic and how to make sustainable choices yourself. Besides plastic, paper is also a welcomed packing option in the floriculture industry. But what is the impact of paper on the environment?
This is paper made from responsibly chopped trees or agricultural waste. The reputation and look are very positive, especially when accompanied by the FSC logo. It is easy to recycle, however, a lot of logging is needed to make this type of paper. To the floriculture industry, the difficulty with paper is that it is not clear. Water resistance is also an important factor. If the wax or coating is not sustainable, the total impact of new paper can be higher than of its plastic pars.
This paper also has a sustainable reputation and look. It receives high recommendations from different customer groups. However, paper can't be recycled forever, the quality of it simply decreases. A level of waste is still there and in the absence of recycled paper, new trees are still being chopped down. Some paper varieties are more water resistant than others. Less water resistant paper, which must go into water together with flowers can be coated with a layer of wax or PLA. Whether this is still sustainable needs to be looked at.
The sustainable, expensive look that hessian gives to products, can be a big sales trigger to many customer groups. It is translucent, breathable and bio-degradable. It is not researched yet whether hessian is gaining popularity in the floriculture industry nor if it protects flowers well enough. It is a fact however, that the fabric is much thicker than most other packing materials. It is not transparent, other than that there are no objections why hessian should not be used more often as packing material.
What to choose?
Paper could be a good option. At this moment, the unbleached version has the lowest negative impact on the environment, CO2 emission level and breaks down quicker. Combined with coating (for flowers) it is important to know what type of coating is used.