Sustainability: what does it mean?
The term is omnipresent, yet its meaning is not as clear-cut as it might seem.
Sustainability was first mentioned at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit (also known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development) and was defined as:
“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
The mention of the future generations is the key to our empowerment in the present, as it spurs us to think in a very long-term perspective in which the generations to think about are not just a handful, but an indefinite number.
Sustainability means understanding the limitedness of the resources and the importance of using them in such a way that their availability remains constant over time.
From this perspective, packaging plays a fundamental role in any production and trade of material goods, because there is no product that does not involve its use.
Sustainable packaging, sometimes also called circular packaging or green packaging, must fulfill a number of functions:
- To inform the user
- To protect products
- To protect the environment
that must be taken into consideration from the very beginning of the design.
In the study of new packaging the eco-designer will have to:
- Think of the entire life cycle, with a particular focus on emissions and waste
- Evaluate the convenience of reusable versus single-use packaging
- Minimize the amount of resources that are needed
- Consider the use of recycled materials
- Prevent the dispersion of materials into the environment
- Prefer solutions that are easily separable and recyclable at the end of their life
- Evaluate the reuse of packaging for secondary purposes that are different from the primary ones
The use of sustainable packaging is promoted by regulations, taxation and the collective conscience, and offers tangible benefits in:
- Ethical and image
In this context Ondaplast is the ideal partner because polypropylene packaging:
- Is great value for money
- Is ductile but tenacious, and guarantees numerous cycles of reuse
- Is easily recyclable through mechanical grinding and granulation processes
- During the final disposal through combustion the PP molecules do not produce any toxic gas, contrary to what happens for example with PVC and the like.
For an overview of the Ondaplast solutions and experience please visit the web pages dedicated to the products and the industrial sectors.