Is Paper A More Sustainable Flexible Packaging Material Than Plastic? (

Like many other major plastics applications, plastics use in flexible packaging has come under deep scrutiny in recent years as sustainability concerns rise and spread globally.

Paper is often lauded as a far more environmentally friendly alternative but how do the two materials really compare? And what is the most sustainable solution?

Historically, papers have been used in flexible packaging for many applications, including confectionery, pet food and dried food. By the early-2000s, however, paper demand as a flexible packaging substrate began to decline due to competition from down-gauging and the rise of plastic alternatives.

Consumers today widely view paper as a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic. A European consumer preferences survey, commissioned by Two Sides in 2020, concluded that 62% of consumers see paper and cardboard packaging as better for the environment. Additionally, 70% of consumers surveyed said they were actively taking steps to reduce their use of plastic packaging.

Comparing green credentials isn’t as straightforward as some would think, however.

Paper is far more biodegradable than plastic and very easily recycled. But it often ends up in landfill, where its degradation rate slows – while it takes up more space than the same weight of plastic. Additionally, paper-based flexible packaging is often laminated with plastic/aluminium or coated with resin, therefore becoming non-recyclable.

Plastic’s properties make plastic packaging ideally suited for efficiently containing and protecting products during shipment and delivery to customers. However, despite its advantages, plastic is made of a non-renewable resource, whereas paper is made of trees. Furthermore, plastic can be recycled but it is currently difficult to achieve high levels of post-consumer recycled content in plastics due to post-consumer waste contamination.
much more at source:

Back To Top
×Close search