shutterstock_1695145207.jpg

SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING OF DAIRY PRODUCTS

  By Ioanna Tzanavari

Given the fact that the environmental problems such as global warming, ozone depletion and uncontrolled water and soil pollution are increased rapidly in recent decades, it is an imperative need for solutions to be found so as to mitigate the effects on the ecosystem. It is important to consider that the products produced by humans to meet their daily needs, including the packaging of dairy products, have a great environmental impact at all stages of their life cycle. The environmental impact of dairy packaging does not only arise during their manufacture, use or when they are converted into waste but from their entire life cycle such as the acquisition and transfer of resources required for the manufacture of the products, their distribution to supermarkets and their final consumption and the treatment of their waste. It is therefore important to integrate environmental aspects and characteristics into the design and development of dairy products packaging. The most important tips for sustainable design and development of these products are the following:

 

  1. Minimize components that do not have a significant function or do not increase the quality of the product and avoid the use of paints protective layers (e.g. colored plastic caps on milk packaging, plastic spoons on yogurt packaging, etc.).

  2. Selection of environmentally friendly materials. These materials should not contain dangerous substances, have a high content of recycled material and at the same time be easily recycled or biodegradable (eg predominance of paper milk packaging instead of plastic derived from already recyclable material).

  3. Selection of clean production processes (eg. renewable energy for the production of packaging, immediate recycling of generated waste or even reintegration of generated waste into the production chain (eg defective products or waste), use of energy saving systems during production).

  4. Minimise the use of packaging during distribution (reusable product packaging).

  5. Reduce the weight of the product and its packaging in order to reduce energy consumption (natural fuel) during transport. Besides, packaging of dairy products is α burning issue in today’s society and supply chain in terms of environmental impacts that’s why reusable packaging, among others, has been suggested, widely in the literature, as an option to significantly reduce this impact.

 

Bibliography:

  • Mario Scetar, Irena Barukčić et.al, 2018, Packaging perspective of milk and dairy products, Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, DOI:10.15567/mljeKarstvo.2019.0101

  • Kenneth Marsh, Betty Bugusu, 2007, Food Packaging—Roles, Materials, and Environmental Issues, Journal of food science, Vol. 72, DOI: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2007.00301.x

  • Patricia Megale, Coelho, Blanca Corona, 2020, Sustainability of reusable packaging–Current situation and trends, Resources, Conservation & Recycling: X Volume 6, May 2020, 100037, DOI: 10.1016/j.rcrx.2020.100037