Packaging does go through a lot of changes, especially with sustainability.
With more packaging options that are arising from this, since people want to reduce the carbon footprint and are more recyclable for others.
While there may be eco-friendly packaging materials, the coatings put over this can make a difference.
Epoxies and polyurethanes are better for functionality and appearance, and the coatings are much better and give you a better way to reduce the packaging so that it can be recycled.
Sustainable packaging is definitely influenced by coatings, and of course, the types of coatings impact how recyclable the item is.
What Do coatings D?
Coatings are applied to different flexible substrates, but the type of materials do vary.
It could be film, paper, or even aluminum foil.
The substrate does depend on the type of packaging that you have and what it’ll be used for.
Coatings make it look aesthetic and they’re functional too.
They make the packaging look nice and get the brand message out, and also do offer better durability.
The most common coatings include:
- Varnishes, to make the surfaces transparent and glossy
- Cold seals when you can’t use heat sealing
- PVC which offers better protection and gloss
Coatings do offer an application with the printing press using machines that’ll laminate them.
Others may use wax coating for food packaging and offer better recyclability.
These different types of customizations are dependent on the product needs, so you want the right coating for your packaging, and that’s sustainable too.
Why Sustainable coatings
Recycling packaging is a hard one to make.
There are many different packaging layers, and the inks and coatings do make recycling hard.
You want to make sure that the product is able to be recycled, and that it doesn’t contain bans such as single-use plastic on this.
Using more recycled content does improve flexible packaging, and it gets rid of the use of plastics, allowing for alternatives that do circulate the plastic and improve recycling.
With the plastic focus, the coatings definitely don’t fit in.
Businesses do want to give more sustainable products, and a lot of the industry is being green washed.
While businesses do play a big part in the product sustainability, and you want to make sure that the product doesn’t counteract the product recyclability.
If the coating is not communicated, they’ll assume it’s totally recyclable and it’s considered a sustainable product.
But that isn’t true.
While coatings do help because they offer better functionality, it still does ask for how eco-friendly the packaging is.
So what are the most sustainable types of coatings on this?
Well, the alternatives are:
- Heat seals
- Barrier coatings
Water-based coatings are stronger, can withstand a lot of wear and tear, and is a protective element, just like other coatings that aren’t sustainable would be.
With the other technology coming up, it offers more innovation, and sustainable coatings do offer more sustainable packages.
So what other options are?
Polyvinyl alcohol or POH, and vinyl alcohol or EVOH are good alternatives that are used in food and drink packaging and are different alternatives.
You can use aqueous coatings to offer a solid film after it dies. This is non-porous, good for food uses, but the downside is they don’t offer good resistance to water.
Biopolymers are another option, and they’re made from plants, and they offer a plastic barrier that allows you to apply this without many modifications, but the biggest downside is that it doesn’t withstand heat, but it works as a coating for you too.