Sugarcane Packaging: The carbon-neutral packaging option

Learn how to get all the benefits of polyethylene with this strong plant-based alternative

Consumers are becoming increasingly vocal about their desire to know what their packaging is made of. Packaging is being viewed as important as the ingredients in the end product. Consumer preference toward sustainably packaged products continues to put the spotlight on brands. Consumer awareness about plastic waste in the environment in the past few years has exploded. 

Picture your typical buyer, trying to figure out which product to purchase. They’re in ‘buying mode’ and in the midst of their busy day, they just want to get in and out of the store with the necessities. Which product will they chose within the few seconds they have to make a decision, the package that’s going to end in landfill, or the package that shows it’s a recyclable sustainable option?

According to the European Consumer Packaging Perceptions Survey, 88% of UK shoppers are requesting on-package information that highlights how environmentally-friendly the packaging format is. But it’s millennials who are seemingly causing the most drive, with 53% saying they have decided to switch brands in the last year because of a product’s packaging, with recyclability and overpackaging cited as the main reasons. While North America hasn’t released any data on this yet, it won’t be far behind. 

While many brands are setting lofty goals and consumers are driving demand along with the environment, it’s up to manufacturers, like us, to give you the right innovative offerings to fulfill your goals. 

That’s why we now offer sugarcane-based packaging – a renewable source alternative to traditional polyethylene. 

How does sugarcane packaging work?

  • A polymer is created from sugarcane waste that’s plant-based rather than oil-based 
  • During the growth of the sugarcane, the natural process of photosynthesis sees carbon actively captured meaning the polymer is carbon negative 
  • The amount of captured carbon is almost equivalent to the amount of carbon used when using oil-based polymers, which means the benefit to the environment is huge. 
  • The production process unavoidably generates carbon through factors such as transport and electricity use, which means that by the time the bio-based polythene is produced it is actually carbon neutral as opposed to carbon negative. 

The Carbon Trust recently accredited an example of sugarcane-based polythene bags as carbon neutral (certified to PAS2060), confirming that it’s possible to nullify the effect of carbon emissions. This is the first time a packaging product has been certified as carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust, which is a huge milestone! 

Benefits of sugarcane-based packaging

Polyethylene is produced from fossil raw materials such as natural gas and oils and is found in many everyday products. However, Sugarcane, is a plastic made from a renewable raw material: ethanol from Brazilian sugarcane. 

I’m green™ Polyethylene captures and fixes CO2 from the atmosphere during its production, helping to reduce greenhouse gases emission. As sugarcane polymers are a renewable resource and don’t depend on fossil fuels, there is a substantial environmental benefit.

Who is already using sugarcane?

Coca-Cola is probably the best-known example. A few years ago the PlantBottle, a PET made with Brazilian sugarcane, was created, which as much as 30% plant material. The best aspect about this case study – nothing was compromised. The colour, weight and appearance of the bottle was still second to none, so its no wonder why Coca-Cola has shipped more than 2.5 billion beverages worldwide using PlantBottle packaging! Other industries have followed Coca-Cola’s lead, including Heinz, Nestlé, Danone, Pantene, Johnson&Johnson and Ecover.

Are you next? If you would like to find out more about our sugarcane packaging, contact us here.

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