What are eco-friendly chemical containers?
Eco-friendly chemical containers and sustainable chemical packaging use environmentally friendly and socially responsible practices and materials in the design, production, and distribution of packaging for chemical products. The goal of eco-friendly chemical packaging is to minimize negative impact on the environment while also ensuring the safety and effectiveness of the packaging for the chemicals it contains.
Most sustainable chemical packaging will be made from biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable materials, reducing the use of non-renewable resources. Sustainable packaging manufacturers may also use energy-efficient production processes and renewable energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Even labeling and printing processes will strive to use eco-friendly ink to minimize the risk of releasing harmful chemicals and pollutants into the environment.
The eco-friendliness of chemical containers can vary, and the choice of container should consider factors such as the specific chemicals being packaged, the intended use, disposal methods, and local recycling or composting infrastructure. Making sure eco-friendly containers still meet safety and regulatory requirements for the chemicals they contain should also be a priority.
Browse ILT’s catalog of Chemical Packaging products here.
Is there biodegradable chemical packaging?
There are biodegradable options within sustainable chemical packaging, and fortunately, they are becoming increasingly available as part of efforts to make packaging more eco-friendly. Biodegradable chemical packaging is designed to break down naturally into non-harmful substances when exposed to specific environmental conditions.
Keep these points in mind when sourcing biodegradable chemical packaging:
- Materials: Biodegradable chemical packaging can be made from various biodegradable materials, including bioplastics, paper, and certain plant-based materials. These materials are chosen for their ability to decompose into natural components.
- Biodegradation Process: Biodegradation is influenced by factors such as temperature, humidity, oxygen levels, and microbial activity. For biodegradable packaging to break down effectively, it often requires specific conditions, which may not be present in all disposal environments.
- Certifications: Look for certifications such as ASTM D6400 and ASTM D6868 in the United States, which indicate that a product is certified as compostable or biodegradable under certain conditions. Other regions may have their own certification standards.
- Composting: Some biodegradable packaging is designed to be compostable, meaning it can break down in a composting facility, alongside organic materials. However, compostable packaging may not break down as effectively in landfill conditions, where oxygen levels are lower.
- Limitations: Biodegradable packaging may not be suitable for all chemical products, especially those that are highly reactive or require long-term stability. The choice of packaging material should consider the specific requirements and compatibility of the chemicals being packaged.
- Consumer Education: Proper disposal and composting instructions should be provided to consumers to ensure that biodegradable packaging ends up in the appropriate waste stream.
How does green packaging benefit the environment?
There are many benefits to using sustainable chemical packaging options. Green packaging reduces resource consumption, boosts energy efficiency, and lowers carbon footprints. It also aims to minimize waste through design optimization, efficient material use, and recycling. This reduces the amount of packaging waste sent to landfills and incinerators. Sustainable packaging materials and processes often result in fewer pollutants being released into the environment during production, which can reduce air and water pollution.
Some larger-scale effects of green packaging include the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity by reducing habitat destruction and pollution associated with non-renewable resource extraction and manufacturing. Green practices are designed to be viable and sustainable over the long term, contributing to the overall health and stability of the planet. At an economic level, green packaging encourages the principles of a circular economy by emphasizing reuse, recycling, and sustainable sourcing of materials. This reduces the need for a linear “take-make-dispose” model.