FleuraMetz on the Impact of Packing Materials
A blog series by FleuraMetz
By: THURSD. | 10-07-2020 | 6 min read
In a blog series in 2019 titled 'Responsible', wholesale giant FleuraMetz shares its thoughts about the impact of packing materials. These articles, offering a longer text and more in-depth information than usual, examined which type of packaging material is the best solution. Which is most environmentally-friendly? This is not old news today. With all discussions about sustainability, these three blogs are more of today than ever before. Read, think, and learn from their findings.
Blog 1: Yes or No to Plastic?
Sustainability goes beyond plastic. By choosing alternative packing materials, it doesn’t mean your actions are immediately sustainable. This applies to individuals but also to businesses. In this extensive blog series, you will get more insight into sustainable choices.
The word sustainability is indispensable in the floriculture industry. Every self-respecting company must have a sustainability policy, every grower must be able to prove the sustainability level of his production so that every florist can purchase sustainable products. However, it doesn’t stop here.
Many flowers, plants, and sundries need protection during transport or they are not fit for sales anymore. FleuraMetz supplies its products to different countries across Europe in reusable crates. Growers wrap their flowers in different types of sleeves. Consumers want a pretty wrapping. Which packaging option is the correct one is difficult to say.
When choosing packing material, it is best to ask yourself what element is most important to you. Is it reduced carbon dioxide emission or materials, which can be reused so there is less waste polluting the environment? For example, paper can only recycle 7 times. After that, the material falls apart.
FleuraMetz would like to give you more information on sustainability over the next few months. Based on this information, you can determine what sustainability norms are of more value to you. Less plastic? A lower level of carbon dioxide emission? Less production due to improved recycling? In the webshop, you can find sustainably produced products according to the standards of FSI. This sustainable choice already has an immediate, positive effect on the environment.
Blog 2: Bioplastic: Sustainable or Polluting?
Sustainability goes beyond plastic. A company that chooses alternative packing materials isn’t always more sustainable. In this blog series, you will get more insight in sustainable choices.
Getting informed is step 1, we learned from the first blog. What sustainability norms are most valuable to you? Bioplastic is made from compostable components, not every type is sustainable by definition. Thanks to our Sustainable Value Chains research, FleuraMetz can give more insight into the impact of different packing materials.
This type of plastic (i.a. PLA) is a good initiative, even though the processing of it is not optimal yet. The majority can't be recycled and is still burnt. The CO2 emission level in this process is high. Most compostable plastics are made of renewable raw materials (see 'Bio-based plastic') but in some cases, fossil raw materials are used making the product a lot less sustainable. It also tends to wrinkle more making the product look less attractive.
Bio-based means that the raw material of the product is natural. These raw materials are also known as 'renewable raw materials'. For example wood fiber, starch, (sugar)beet or cellulose. It doesn't look as lush as normal plastic. Also note: not all types are compostable or recyclable! PET, for example, used to make bottles for cold drinks, is part bio-based. More information about the components of products are listed on the packaging or can be obtained from the packaging supplier.
This phrase is not protected in The Netherlands. When this is mentioned on the packaging of a product without the official 'biodegradable' label, it doesn't comply with the European guidelines and can be harmful to the environment. The different labels and quality labels will be discussed in a later issue.
This looks the most similar to normal plastic. It is also often the cheapest, sustainable alternative. The quality is equal to that of normal plastic. Plastic that is 100% recycled gets a milky color. It is also not transparent anymore. Plastic that is 50% recycled stays clear. In The Netherlands, despite the correct collection efforts, only 50% is being recycled. By recycling the product, less plastic ends up in the plastic soup but the processing still causes a high level of CO2 emission.
Blog 3: No Plastic: Paper Alternatives
In this blog series, we research the impact of packing materials. Not every type is sustainable by definition.
Earlier, you were able to read about the impact of different types of plastic and how to make sustainable choices yourself. Besides plastic, the paper is also a welcomed packing option in the floriculture industry. But what is the impact of paper on the environment?
Source of these blogs: FleuraMetz
This is paper made from responsibly chopped trees or agricultural waste. The reputation and look are very positive, especially when accompanied by the FSC logo. It is easy to recycle, however, a lot of logging is needed to make this type of paper. To the floriculture industry, the difficulty with paper is that it is not clear. Water-resistance is also an important factor. If the wax or coating is not sustainable, the total impact of new paper can be higher than of its plastic parts.
This paper also has a sustainable reputation and look. It receives high recommendations from different customer groups. However, paper can't be recycled forever, the quality of it simply decreases. A level of waste is still there and in the absence of recycled paper, new trees are still being chopped down. Some paper varieties are more water-resistant than others. Less water-resistant paper, which must go into the water together with flowers can be coated with a layer of wax or PLA. Whether this is still sustainable needs to be looked at.
The sustainable, expensive look that hessian gives to products, can be a big sales trigger to many customer groups. It is translucent, breathable, and bio-degradable. It is not researched yet whether hessian is gaining popularity in the floriculture industry nor if it protects flowers well enough. It is a fact, however, that the fabric is much thicker than most other packing materials. It is not transparent, other than that there are no objections why hessian should not be used more often as packing material.
What to Choose?
Paper could be a good option. At this moment, the unbleached version has the lowest negative impact on the environment, CO2 emission level, and breaks down quicker. Combined with a coating (for flowers) it is important to know what type of coating is used.