The packaging process that is over 99% plastic free

Internet Fusion Group, a leading lifestyle e-commerce retailer with brands such as Surfdome and Country Attire, have created a sustainable packaging process that is over 99% plastic free. Investments in two Quadient CVP-500 automated packaging machines and switching to Corrugated Fanfold material from Ribble Packaging, have aided with their pursuit of an environmentally sustainable right size packaging process.

To highlight the full extent of their achievements, Internet Fusion have released a report investigating the environmental effects of paper-based packaging versus plastic packaging products. The report explores the full manufacturing process of both paper and plastic packaging, through to the recyclability and long-term environmental effects once a package has reached its destination. Head of Sustainability at Internet Fusion Adam Hall said” Our customers are tired of plastic pollution, and we are tired of the justifications being put forward for continued plastic production in the middle of a marine plastic crisis. When you dig a little deeper these arguments simply don’t stack up, so we felt it was time to share the decision-making process that has led us to our packaging being over 99% plastic free. Our customers choose us because of our environmental efforts and in turn we choose Ribble for the same reasons – it’s partnerships such as these that can shift a whole industry towards a more sustainable future”.

Right Size packaging specialists Ribble Packaging supply Internet Fusion with over 75% of their packaging material in the form of Corrugated Fanfold board, a versatile fully recycled and recyclable cardboard product that feeds many of the leading automated packaging systems in the UK.

Stephen Rector, Managing Director of Ribble Packaging, commented on Internet Fusion’s success: “It is fantastic to see that Ribble products are helping our customers in creating more environmentally sustainable packaging processes. We also see the need to improve our in-house operations to make them more sustainable.”

Earlier this year, Ribble embarked on a project to make their operations carbon neutral. “We understand the need to focus on the effects our manufacturing process has on the environment, this has led to us embarking on a carbon neutral project that will see us embrace new sustainable technologies and practices. Our products allow customers to create a more sustainable packaging process, but we can enhance these benefits by offering a carbon neutral manufacturing process as well.”

What Is The Best Solution For Plastic Free Packaging? 

In recent years there has been an increased awareness of the impact our daily lives have on the environment. Reducing plastic has been a key focal point for many individuals and companies, with a vast number of businesses pledging to reduce their plastic use over the next few years.

Packaging accounts for more than 40 per cent of all plastic usage, and it is time that manufacturers and retail businesses made changes to become more environmentally friendly.

Plastic-free packaging often seems like a real challenge to achieve. However, there are plenty of plastic-free solutions available.

Why switch to plastic-free packaging?

Many people know that plastic isn’t sustainable or good for the environment, but most individuals are not aware of just how much plastic ends up harming the world we live in. Plastic is a convenient packaging material because it is cheap, durable and flexible, and it is so popular that it’s estimated we have used 8.3 million metric tonnes of it since the 1950s.

On top of this, 79% of the plastic produced in the last 70 years has been thrown into landfill or the general environment, with just 9% being recycled and the rest incinerated. Some of this plastic is toxic and can be extremely dangerous to animals in the oceans and across the globe.

Making the switch to plastic-free packaging can be a step in the right direction in reducing this shocking amount of plastic waste in our environment. As a business, it is your responsibility to ensure you are helping your customers to reduce their carbon footprint and operate sustainably through plastic-free packaging. You might be thinking your products need plastic in order to be appropriately packaged, but there are plenty of solutions out there for plastic-free packaging.

What is the best solution for plastic-free packaging?

There is a growing demand for reduction in plastic, and many businesses are struggling to keep up with the demand for plastic-free packaging. Most packaging uses some form of plastic, so what is a reliable and practical plastic-free packaging solution?

It might come as a surprise, but corrugated board could be the answer to all your plastic-free packaging requirements. Corrugated board offers a lot of the same benefits and features as plastic when it comes to packaging, without having a detrimental effect on the environment.

Ditching Plastic download

The benefits of corrugated board

Corrugated board is stable and secure for keeping products safe and free from damage, while also being easy to ship, carry and transport. It is available in many different shapes, sizes and thicknesses making it just as versatile as plastic for packaging solutions.

While plastic does have the added benefit of being shaped and moulded to suit any product perfectly, corrugated board when used properly can be just as customisable and versatile. Bespoke containers can be created from corrugated board as it can be made to suit any product size or shape.

Plastic is often used because it is durable and versatile enough to suit a vast range of products. Corrugated board can be subject to a range of different treatments and coatings to help bolster the strength and versatility of plastic-free packaging. A waterproof material can be used to coat corrugated board, and it can also be made flame resistant, making it an ideal plastic-free packaging choice for a range of industries.

Cardboard also offers a lot of choice by way of design as it can be easily printed on using digital or screen printing methods. Plastic packaging also provides a range of customisable design options, but as corrugated board can be printed on directly, it is cheaper, quicker and more convenient to use.

Is corrugated board a sustainable plastic-free packaging solution?

One of the most significant benefits of corrugated board as plastic-free packaging is that it can be produced from 100% recycled material, as well as be completely recycled after use.

Not only can corrugated board be easily recycled, but it is strong enough to be used time and time again. Compared with plastic, corrugated board is a much more sustainable option for product packaging. It is also a much more cost-effective plastic-free packaging solution as it is relatively cheap to produce and purchase.

Corrugated board is much more lightweight compared with plastic, saving on shipping costs and reducing your company’s fuel consumption. Packaging can be cleverly designed using cardboard to fit product sizes perfectly and save space when shipping, making it an all-round sustainable plastic-free packaging solution.

10 UK Companies Ditching Plastic From Their Packaging

In recent months, the plastic crisis has gained some well-needed traction and more and more companies, and individuals are beginning to understand the importance of ditching plastic for more sustainable materials.

BBC’s Blue Planet has a lot to answer for, with the recent shift in attitude, as it provided the nation with shocking evidence of the damage that plastic has on the environment and the creatures that inhabit it.

With plastic making up 85% of beach litter across the globe, and Britons using 7.7 billion single-use plastic bottles every year, it is no surprise that it is causing havoc on planet earth.

If individuals and brands don’t start ditching plastic soon, then there will be more plastic in the ocean, by weight, than there are fish by 2050.

Here we look at 10 UK companies that are already ditching plastic from their packaging:

10 Companies Ditching Plastic

  • McDonald’s

One of the biggest fast-food chains not just in the UK but in the world, McDonald’s started making tracks to ditching plastic packaging in May this year when they switched to paper straws. As well as making their straws 100% recyclable they have also made the change that customers must request straws instead of giving them out to everyone with their orders, resulting in a considerable drop in consumption.

  • Aldi

The much-loved discount supermarket is making significant changes to their packaging in the UK in their bid for ditching the plastic and becoming more environmentally friendly. They are in the process of introducing recyclable trays for selected fresh produce, which is estimated to save 265 tonnes of packaging in just one year. In addition to ditching plastic, Aldi is also trying to use more recycled plastic in their packaging that can’t be abolished altogether.

  • Iceland

Another supermarket favourite, Iceland has committed to ditching plastic completely within the next five years. The retailer will be replacing plastic packaging with paper and pulp alternatives, which will be 100% recyclable and can be recycled through domestic waste collections as well as in-store recycling facilities.

  • Nestle Waters UK

Bottled water and soft drink manufacturer, Nestle Waters UK, has teamed up with many other brands in the industry including Lucozade Ribena Suntory and Harrogate Water Brands to eliminate plastic packaging waste. They have produced a report alongside the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) revealing a roadmap to ditching plastic by 2025.

  • Pizza Express

Thanks to 5-year-old pizza lover Ava, Pizza Express is also ditching plastic straws in a bid to help animal welfare and the environment. The young girl wrote a letter to the chain explaining her concerns about using plastic straws as ‘they are very bad for animals’, encouraging the restaurant brand to switch to a paper alternative.

  • Marks & Spencer

The clothing and food brand recently joined over 40 other companies in signing a pledge agreeing to ditch the plastic and cut plastic pollution in the next seven years. They will make changes such as ditching plastic packaging that is deemed unnecessary such as for packs of fresh fruit and vegetables.

The UK Plastics Pact covers roughly 80% of all plastic packaging on Britain’s supermarket shelves and includes initiatives such as allowing consumers to bring their own containers to supermarket meat counters.

 

Ditching Plastic download

 

  • Costa

As well as ditching plastic straws for biodegradable alternatives, coffee giant Costa has stated that they intend to review their takeaway coffee cups to find a more environmentally friendly solution. 2.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away every year in the UK, and just 1% of these are currently recycled, so any reduction in this area would be a great help to the environment.

  • Pret a Manger

The global sandwich and coffee franchise has been making big changes to help reduce their plastic footprint in recent months. As well as ditching plastic straws for paper alternatives, they also offer customers a 50p discount in the UK if they bring their own reusable coffee cup in a bid to reduce consumption of takeaway cups.

  • Bacardi

Bacardi created their award-winning ‘Good Spirited’ campaign which was designed to reduce the company’s environmental impact in sourcing, packaging and operations. They began by ditching plastic straws in the UK back in 2016, making them one of the first big brands to jump on the banning plastic straws bandwagon.

  • Hilton

The hotel giant has a significant presence in the UK and has committed to removing over 5 million plastic straws and 20 million plastic water bottles every year across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, a move that will cut Hilton’s global environmental impact in half by 2030.

Seven Ways Wasteful Packaging Is Hurting Our Environment

While many consumers are more environmentally conscious, there is still a lack of recycling.

In the UK in just one year, only 17% of the total waste was recycled. Recycling is essential; it can help to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in a landfill.

Many people want to contribute to reducing waste, in fact, 90% of people say they would recycle more if it is easier. However, would it be easier to recover and reduce the amount of waste if there was less packaging in society?

Excessive packaging is seen daily across the world.

Food products considered gourmet might have three different types of packaging to add to its luxury feel. While seven million takeaway coffee cups are thrown away every day and 38.5 million bottles of water are consumed and thrown away without a thought. As a society, we become almost blind to the amount of wasteful packaging because it is so apparent in daily life. However, it is dramatically affecting our environment in many different ways.

Here are just seven of the ways that wasteful packaging is damaging our environment.

Seven ways wasteful packaging affects our environment

  • Litter

In terms of the total waste, litter is only on a small scale, with a small percentage of packaging waste accumulating as litter. However, litter is a major concern for many people. Wasteful packaging such as food and beverage containers make up the third most abundant component of litter. Packaging sits behind cigarettes and food for the highest amount of litter.

While many people complain about the litter because it is unsightly, it can actually be a health hazard to humans too. Broken glass, for example, can cause injuries while excessive cardboard packaging can be a fire hazard (the risk is heightened when you consider the main proportion of litter are cigarette butts).

Litter can also attract vermin which then creates a breeding ground for bacteria which can threaten public health as well as risk the health of pets and wildlife too. Wasteful packaging as litter can also lead to clogged storm drains and can even increase algal blooms in water which can, therefore, affect the water quality impacting aquatic life and wildlife which use the water.

Not only is litter damaging the environment, but a great deal of money is spent combatting the litter problem. With less packaging, this money could be better spent developing recycling schemes which can reduce waste and lower the amount of litter too.

  • Air pollution

Air pollution can be caused by two major concerns dust and dry particles which hang in the air and fumes such as smoke, gases and vapours. Excess and wasteful packaging can contribute to air pollution in a variety of ways. For example, wasteful packaging leads to more waste incineration activities. This type of processing leads to the production of harmful gases which infiltrate the environment. These gases include vinyl chloride, CFCs and hexane.

The electricity use and transportation emission of excessive packaging also contribute to the increasing air pollution problem. Another aspect of air pollution from packaging is through landfill sites. As material decomposes in landfill sites, the decomposition process can release carbon dioxide and methane gas which can contribute to the global warming effect.

  • Birdlife

Worryingly, plastic kills over one million marine birds every single year. Birds ingest plastic packaging both directly and through the food chain. Birds can also be killed or injured by plastic packaging by getting caught up or tangled up in plastic. This is prominent with plastic can holders and six-pack rings.

Unfortunately, the excessive amount of plastic in the environment is having a severe and detrimental impact on bird life.  In fact, plastic wastage is now found in over 90% of seabirds due to the amount of plastic waste in the oceans. Furthermore, plastic is a contributing factor to the fact there has been a 67% decline in seabird populations in the last sixty years.

Another frightening statistic of how much damage plastic is causing to the birdlife is that 40% of Laysan Albatross chicks die before flying the nest. The reasons for the 40% mortality rating is the fact that their stomachs are filled with harmful plastic waste. Albatrosses are more likely to be affected by plastic packaging due to the way they hunt. An albatross will skim their beak across the surface of the water to catch fish and will often ingest plastic that is floating in the process.

  • Landfill space

In 2017, the UK generated 9.3 million tonnes of packaging waste. Unfortunately, many types of packaging take a long time to degrade. For example, plastic bags and Styrofoam cups will take from 500 years to forever to degrade. Glass bottles take up to 1 million years to degrade, and aluminium and tin cans can take up to 100 years to degrade.

With this in mind, the UK is rapidly running out of landfill space. Creating landfill areas has not been a priority for the UK as they have been making the most of the European energy-from-waste initiatives. However, as Britain leaves the EU, it remains doubtful whether the UK can still utilise these schemes. In fact, it is believed that by 2020 there will only be 50 landfill sites left in the whole country.

  • Sealife

The ingestion of plastic can be fatal for sea life. In fact, 100,000 marine animals die as a result of waste pollution every single year. A Sei whale was killed because of a laceration in the stomach caused by a plastic DVD case. A sperm whale died in Spain because of an intestinal blockage caused by 37 pounds of plastic from 59 pieces of wasteful packaging.

Plastic bags can also be incredibly harmful as they can look like jellyfish to the unsuspecting turtle. Sadly, there have been 693 different marine species that have been found to have ingested or become entangled with plastic waste in the ocean.

  • Water pollution

The production of packaging can have a high water use as well as causing water pollution. To create just one plastic water bottle takes three bottles of water as well as a quarter of a bottle of oil. It is not just water bottles that use a high amount of water, many packaging production methods use a high volume of water, wasting precious water resources.

Plastic pellets used in packaging can also affect the water. The pellets release toxic chemicals which can leach into the water. Research has found that the concentration of toxic chemicals in the pellets becomes a million times higher when in water.

  • Loss of species

Landfills are a result of a high amount of wasteful packaging and can be incredibly dangerous to the environment. Landfills not only release large amounts of methane and other toxic chemicals which can contribute to global warming, but they can also result in a loss of species.

Research has shown that between 30 and 300 species are lost per hectare of landfill site which can significantly impact the biodiversity of our planet.

Landfills also have a damaging effect with waste materials leaching toxic chemicals which leads to groundwater pollution. Furthermore, it can reduce the soil quality and fertility which can mean that plants cannot grow or thrive in the area, effectively wasting the environment and playing a key role in the food chain.

 

Fifteen Plastic Packaging Statistics That Will Scare You

In a world where we are all trying to lessen the impact we have on the environment, one of the most significant influences that seem almost unavoidable is plastic. Going plastic is virtually impossible as it infiltrates so many aspects of life. From a plastic casing on a smartphone, to a plastic computer keyboard, to plastic bags, food wrap and bottles, it is hard for a day to go by without encountering plastic.

While plastics have been around for less than a century, they have dramatically changed the way we live. The benefit of plastic is it is incredibly hardwearing and designed to last for a very long time. However, this benefit has quickly become a problem for our ecosystem.

While some plastics can be recycled, a significant proportion ends up in landfill sites.

The plastic pollution can be dangerous for our health and the environment. Many plastics are toxic and can have an adverse effect on our health. Furthermore, with so much plastic waste in the oceans, it is affecting marine life, birds, the food chain and the ecosystem as a whole.

Due to the significant impacts that plastic has on the world, ecosystems and environment, it is essential to reduce our plastic use as much as possible. If you need further encouragement to limit your plastic waste, here are fifteen plastic packaging statistics that will scare you into thinking more about your plastic consumption.

15 scary plastic packaging statistics

1. One million plastic bottles are sold every minute

Drinks bottles are one of the most popular forms of plastic packaging which ends up as wastage. Frighteningly 20,000 plastic bottles are bought worldwide every single second. Sadly, less than 50% of these are recycled. Just 7% of the plastic bottles are transformed into new bottles.

When you consider that 480 billion bottles were sold in 2016 and less than 50% of these bottles were recycled, that means there were over 240 billion bottles that went into a landfill in a single year.

2. Yearly plastic waste can circle the earth four times

The amount of plastic packaging that is thrown away every single year is enough in length to circle the globe four times over. Furthermore the rate of plastic wastage is growing at a rate of 9% every year. Naturally, landfill does not help the problem, it just delays the problem for future years.

3. 12 billion tonnes of plastic waste in landfill by 2050

Since the beginning of plastic production, it is estimated that at least 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced. From this, at least 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste has been created and almost 80% have been put to landfill or is in the natural environment, such as the oceans.

With current production rates and continued mismanagement of plastic waste across the world, there will be 12 billion tonnes of wasted plastic in a landfill by 2050. With a single plastic bottle taking 450 years to biodegrade, does the earth have enough space for all of our plastic waste?

4. Plastic outnumbers sea life by six to one

There is more plastic in the oceans than wildlife. In fact, plastic outnumbers sea life by six pieces for every one animal. Furthermore 90% of the pollution floating in the ocean is plastic which accounts for 46,000 pieces of plastic in every single square mile.

5. 10 million tonnes of plastic end up in the sea every year

Ocean plastic is significantly impacting the environment and marine ecosystems. Plastic has entered the food chain with toxic plastic being found in birdlife as well as fish and sea mammals. From a study in the journal Science, they found that 192 coastal countries are adding to 10 million tonnes of plastic ending up in the sea each year.

There are five gyres in which plastic waste accumulates in the ocean, these gyres have a much higher concentration of plastic than anywhere else in the ocean due to the circular currents.

6. All sea turtle species have plastic in their bodies

Due to the tiny fragments of plastic in the ocean, all sea turtle species and 44% of seabird species have been found to have plastic in their system or around their bodies. This also includes 22% of cetaceans too.

7. There are 718 pieces of litter for every 100m of beach in the UK

In a single 100-metre stretch of coast in the UK, you can expect to find over 700 parts of plastic packaging waste. With research conducted by the Great British Beach Clean Up, you can expect to see 42 packets, 32 plastic caps or lids and 225 plastic bottles or polystyrene pieces, amongst many other parts of plastic pollution that are washed up by the sea.

8. 50% of plastic is used only once

Incredibly, half of the plastic that is destroying the ecosystem is created for single use. This could include plastic bottle, coffee cup lids and food packaging. With such a throwaway culture, only 5% of plastic is recovered from what is produced.

9. 7 million coffee cups are thrown away in the UK every day

Love a takeaway coffee? So, do 7 million other people in the UK. In just a single day, 7 million coffee cups are thrown away every single day. Many of these coffee cups are made from polystyrene complete with plastic lids.

With hardly any coffee cups or lids being recycled or recyclable, the harmless morning coffee may be significantly damaging the environment. Regularly enjoy a coffee? Why not invest in a reusable coffee cup, your coffee shop may discount your coffee because of it too.

10. One million plastic bags are used every minute

Forgetting your reusable bag at the supermarket is easy to do. In fact, one million plastic bags are used worldwide every single minute. This means that 500 billion plastic bags are used across the globe each year. By remembering a cotton bag or shops using paper bags could significantly lessen the damage of plastic on the environment.

11. 93% of Americans test positive for a plastic chemical

The chemicals of plastic not only affect the environment, but they also affect our health too. In fact in tests for BPA which is a plastic chemical, 93% of Americans over the age of six tested positive for traces of the chemical found in the body.

The absorption of plastic into the body can be damaging to health. While research is still ongoing it has been found that plastic compounds can alter hormones in humans.

12. The ocean has a plastic mass that is twice the size of Texas

Named the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, there is a floating plastic mass that is considered the largest ocean garbage site in the world. The mass is collated from the North Pacific Gyre which is a circular tide that brings pollution together into one big mass of garbage. So far, it has reached an enormous size and is already twice the size of Texas.

13. Only one-third of UK plastic packaging is recycled

Despite being more eco-aware, consumers in the UK still only recycle one-third of their plastic packaging. Two-thirds of plastic packaging is taken to landfill while a small proportion is incinerated. With this in mind less than half of the plastic goods that are recyclable are actually recycled. Much of this wastage comes down to a lack of recycling provisions and not being sure whether a product can be recovered or not.

14. One million seabirds are killed every year from plastic

As plastic enters the food chain and can cause damage to birds, such as birds getting stuck in plastic can holders has resulted in one million seabirds being killed every year from plastic in the ocean. Furthermore, 100,000 marine mammals are killed per year as a result of plastic in the water.

15. Not recycling costs the UK £78 million

Recycling plastic packaging can be an essential way to save money in the UK. By not recycling products it costs around £78 million a year for landfill costs. This money could certainly be better used by local authorities to provide other services. It can also save energy and new plastic production.

Ribble take recycling seriously

At Ribble we want to do all we can to make packaging sustainable and as eco-friendly as possible. We use recycled material to create our cardboard for packaging solutions, we also make sure that our cardboard packaging is fully recyclable too. If you want to find out more about the Ribble commitment to the environment, and how we can help your business with eco-friendly packaging, get in touch by calling 0161 622 2302.

Is Plastic Packaging Destroying Our Environment?

Plastic, a material that has now caused worldwide controversy after a global spread of pollution across our oceans; all thanks to its poor bio-degradable properties, human misuse and overall promotion of irresponsible environmental initiatives. Plastic packaging is causing issues for the environment.

Plastics that contain virgin resins, are a cheap alternative produced from petroleum or natural gas into small pellets known as ‘nodules’. The manufacture of these pellets alone is contributing to the depletion of natural resources, consuming 4% of the world’s oil supply. Although, it should be identified that plastic materials can be energy efficient, as it takes less energy during its manufacture then its rival glass material, including low transportation costs due to being lightweight and results in 40% less fuel for transportation.

Is there a more sustainable solution to plastic packaging?

It is without doubt plastics are a ‘wonder material’ they are adaptable and durable for most products, which has accelerated their production, but is there a more sustainable solution?

Over the last 65 years or so scientists have predicted 8.3 billion tonnes have been produced, with approximately 70% of this production present in our current waste streams – mostly sent to landfill.

Half of this material has been made within the last 13 years and current trends point to 12 billion tonnes of plastic waste by 2050. Waste deposited in landfill can reach harmful chemical levels, that spread into groundwater resources and contribute to contamination of the natural environment. When plastic products enter a water source whole, it can float around almost forever and endanger marine life.

It has been identified that most commonly used plastics are not biodegradable, providing few alternatives for disposal, following a decomposition process known as either pyrolysis or incineration through a thermal recovery facility. Although, the latter is further complicated by health and air quality concerns. Many animal studies suggest a developing link between exposure to chemicals and negative health outcomes, with findings of ‘micro-plastics’ in the bodies of marine life which demonstrates the reality of our environment.

Packaging is a short-use product that has poor recycling statistics, with only an estimated 9% of disregarded plastic being disposed of environmentally.

With raw material prices increasing, it is becoming more financially viable to recycle polymers. Including investment into innovative engineering and biological initiatives to create a more sustainable solution.

What is the solution to improving plastic packaging?

One solution is to treat plastic as a reusable material rather than a disposable commodity that can be carelessly discarded. Efforts towards increasing recycling facilities for this material and providing treatment to ensure it is suitable for its next process. Creating a sustainable culture through knowledge is highly advantageous and would increase recycling efforts for all our materials to ensure we reducing pollution rates.

Copyright © Ribble Packaging Ltd.