Many of us are trying harder than ever to live a more sustainable lifestyle: we waste less, we recycle more, and we look for products that help us do both. But at the same time, we don’t want to give up convenience—especially with food and other products we buy often.
Sustainability plus convenience—sounds challenging. Well, meeting that challenge is what the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) honored May 22 at the Ameristar Awards, an annual event that celebrates the latest advances in consumer goods packaging.
Here are a few examples of innovative new packaging honored this year—made possible by plastics:
See-through can for nuts: Made with clear plastic, this can lets consumers see their snack before purchase, unlike traditional metal cans. The PET plastic can is lightweight and durable, and it’s accepted in most recycling programs—although consumers may want to hang on to this sturdy can for storing other household items. And because these plastic cans weigh 40 percent less than metal cans, they take less energy to transport.
FreshBox™: These stackable, transparent containers for ready-to-eat foods also let consumers see what they’re buying. Pull the plastic tab, and the tamper-evident seal makes an audible tearing sound to confirm that the container has never been opened. The FreshBox™ conveniently doubles as an attractive serving bowl, so there’s no need to transfer the food to a separate dish. The FreshBox™ is made with PET plastic, similar to beverage bottles.*
Maybelline New York Super Stay 24™ 2-Step Color: Instead of relying on an illustration of lipstick color on the package, consumers can see the actual lipstick inside a clear plastic carton, giving them greater confidence in choosing the right color. This carton also is made with PET plastic.*
The Convertible Clamshell: This clear plastic package allows restaurant workers to more easily assemble and serve sandwiches. The timesaving, hinge-less design allows the bread to lay flat in the package as the sandwich is assembled—then the plastic package wraps around the sandwich like a clamshell. The sturdy polypropylene plastic package protects the food and serves as a handy to-go container. When it’s time to eat, the clamshell opens into a convenient serving dish. The thin-gauge clamshell weighs up to 50 percent less than some similar packaging, so less fuel is consumed in transportation.*
*Note: roughly half of Americans have access to programs that accept this type of package for recycling.