Scientists have an important challenge: to create sustainable packaging while avoiding plastic and other refined products, without stimulating deforestation or causing additional water pollution. But even with all these limitations, new eco-developments are not a panacea yet.
1. Gelatin cling film
Eco-idea: Scientists from the Astrakhan Technical University have created a biodegradable food film from gelatin based on fish scales. The film is proposed to be used for the production of bags and food storage.
"But": gelatin, no doubt, is in many ways a more environmentally friendly material than plastic, but it has one big drawback. The additional production of gelatin can add to an already serious strain on livestock production. Gelatin is an animal product obtained from hooves, bones, cartilage and other parts of slaughtered animals. Already, agriculture occupies half of the inhabited part of the land, free of ice and desert.
2. Paper bottles for whiskey
Eco-idea: Johnnie Walker whiskey makers plan to test new eco-friendly packaging in 2021. Manufacturers of the brand opt for paper, because they are sure that it is more environmentally friendly than glass. This is partly true, as the production of glass bottles consumes energy and generates carbon emissions.
They plan to make paper bottles from wood pulp. The company assures that the paper bottle is recyclable and that consumers will be able to send the bottles directly for recycling.
But: Any additional paper production increases the load on forests, and the number of paper recycling cycles is much less than for glass.
3. Tubules from secondary wood waste
Eco-idea: According to Australian scientists, about 8,3 billion plastic tubes have accumulated near the shores of the seas and oceans.
Finnish company Sulapac has come up with an eco-friendly alternative to plastic straws and has already attracted € 18,8 million for this project. Sulapac makes straws from a special biodegradable material based on the by-products of industrial woodworking, which usually go to waste. Sulapac production has already been launched in several countries of the world, but it is not yet in Russia. The company is confident that the technology will find a consumer in our country.
"But": biodegradable materials are not equally environmentally friendly. For them to decompose, very special conditions must be created for this, and not all countries have the infrastructure for this. In this regard, metal tubes are a more environmentally friendly option, as they involve reusable use.
4. Edible container for instant noodles
Eco-friendly idea: RavenSbourne University student Holly Grounds of London has developed a noodle pack made of potato starch, glycerin and water. As soon as the package comes into contact with boiling water, it dissolves and turns into a sauce: dried spices and flavors are included in the film.
“In an instant noodle package, there is sometimes more package itself than noodles. The noodles can be cooked and eaten in ten minutes, and the packaging decomposition will take eight decades, ”the student wrote about her project.
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5. Ice instead of glass
Eco-friendly idea: In 2013, Coca-Cola worked with creative agency Ogilvy & Mather Colombia to develop Coca-Cola bottles made entirely of ice.
The bottle is made using a silicone mold. The bottle retained its shape as long as the drink was inside. As soon as there was no liquid left in the bottle, it melted without leaving any debris behind. Real ice cold Coca-Cola was sold for a short time on the beaches of Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Thailand, Japan, USA and Colombia.
But: After the ice bottles were sold out on the beaches, they were no longer released. The initiative did not take root - it is not very convenient to use such packaging in urban conditions.