UNDERSTANDING THE BENEFITS OF FLEXIBLE PACKAGING 

The flexible plastic packaging we produce plays an essential role in sustainability when looking at the different stages of the supply chain. It reduces food waste, it contains, protects, and facilitates the transport of the product and significantly extends product shelf-life. 

Significantly improves product protection and freshness

Significantly improves 
product protection 
and freshness

Reduces food waste

Increases shelf life and reduces food waste

Offers unprecedented convenience features

Offers unprecedented 
convenience features

Provides confidence in sterility and product security

Provides confidence 
in sterility and 
product security

Stands-out on the retailer’s shelves

Stands-out on 
the retailer’s shelves

FLEXIBLE PACKAGING REDUCES FOOD WASTE

Global food waste is a persisting challenge. Flexible packaging can help decrease food spoilage and waste by providing barrier protection and extending shelf life. 

When shelf life increases, food waste decreases.
Grapes
Grapes
  • 7 Days
  • 70 Days
Green Beans
Green Beans
  • 7 Days
  • 19 Days
Broccoli
Broccoli
  • 6 Days
  • 20 Days
Cheese
Cheese
  • 190 Days
  • 280 Days
Steak
Steak
  • 3 Days
  • 20 Days
  • Without Flexible Packaging
  • With Flexible Packaging
Did you know
DID YOU know?

...about the impact of food waste?

1/3 of all food produced is disposed of before it is consumed.

RULE OF THUMB: 

Packaging accounts for about 10% of carbon footprint of product.


Food Waste Consumes

  • 21% of all fresh water
  • 19% of all fertilizer
  • 18% of cropland
  • 21% of landfill volume

85%

Occurs downstream at consumer 
facing businesses and homes.

Source : ReFed 2016
Why flexible packaging is AWESOME:
Less energy. Fewer resources. Smaller footprint.
Protects the product and reduces container breakage
Less waste
Produces less c02 emissions
Better for the environment
Improves product-packaging ratio
Efficient resource utilization
Optimizes transportation with light weight and flat shape
Fewer trucks on the road for transport
Extends shelf life with barrier properties
One of the key solutions to reduce food waste
CARBON IMPACT
CARBON IMPACT

A rigid PET container for laundry detergent pods emits +726% more greenhouse gases than a flexible pouch with zipper.

WATER USAGE
WATER USAGE

A HDPE bottle for motor oil packaging consumes +513% more water than a flexible pouch with fitment.

FOSSIL FUEL USAGE
FOSSIL FUEL USAGE

A rigid pail for cat litter packaging consumes +1,429% more fossil fuel than a flexible bag.

MATERIAL TO LANDFILL
MATERIAL TO LANDFILL

+31% more thermoformed tubs for baby food packaging ends up in a landfill compared to a flexible pouch with fitment.

WATER USAGE
WATER USAGE

A steel can for packaging coffee consumes +1,605% more water than a flexible pouch.

PRODUCT-TO-PACKAGE  RATIO
PRODUCT-TO-PACKAGE RATIO

A single serve juice flexible pouch efficiently uses packaging with a product-to-package ratio of +97%.

The Flexible Packaging Association recently released a report that provides a holistic view on the sustainability benefits flexible packaging offers. 

Results show that flexible packaging, when compared to other package formats, has better environmental attributes for carbon impact, fossil fuel usage, water usage, product-to-package ratio, as well as material to landfill. 

Flexible packaging requires less water and energy to manufacture and transport, and it generates small quantities of greenhouse gases on its way to market, making it a sustainable packaging solution. 

Guess how many trucks you would need to transport the same volume of rigid containers?

One truckload of flat pouches

often equals between 15-25 truckloads of empty rigid containers

  • One truckload of flat pouches
  • One truckload of flat pouches
  • One truckload of flat pouches
  • One truckload of flat pouches
  • One truckload of flat pouches
  • One truckload of flat pouches
  • One truckload of flat pouches
  • One truckload of flat pouches
  • One truckload of flat pouches
  • One truckload of flat pouches
  • One truckload of flat pouches
  • One truckload of flat pouches
  • One truckload of flat pouches
  • One truckload of flat pouches
  • One truckload of flat pouches
THE OVERALL FOOTPRINT OF FLEXIBLE PACKAGING

Flexible plastic packaging clearly can deliver more goods with significantly less waste, energy use, and global warming potential.

COFFEE PACKAGE COMPARISON

Source: Flexible Packaging Association

Ground coffee is packaged in a variety of package formats. For this Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study, the stand-up flexible pouch, steel can and plastic canister package formats were evaluated for their environmental impacts with a cradle to grave boundary.

Stand-up flexible pouch

STAND-UP
FLEXIBLE POUCH

hdpe cannister

HDPE CANNISTER

Steel can

STEEL CAN

WATER CONSUMPTION

A traditional steel can uses 16x as much water as the stand-up flexible pouch, mostly because of the material development stage.

The HDPE plastic canister consumes 2x as much water as the stand-up flexible pouch.

Water consumption

GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

The HDPE canister and steel can respectively emit 4x and 7x more GHG emissions than the flexible pouch.

Stand-up flexible pouch
13.7
GRAMS of material
HDPE cannister
63.7
GRAMS of material
Steel can
111
GRAMS of material

FOSSIL FUEL CONSUMPTION

A steel can and HDPE canister respectively use 453% and 518% more fossil fuel than a stand-up flexible pouch.

Stand-up flexible pouch
6,654
MJ-EQUIV
HDPE cannister
41,130
MJ-EQUIV
Steel can
36,809
MJ-EQUIV

SOURCE REDUCTION BENEFITS

According to the U.S. EPA Waste Hierarchy, the most preferred method for waste management is source reduction and reuse. High product-to-package ratios associated with flexible packaging enable packaging efficiency.

HIGH
PRODUCT-TO-PACKAGE
RATIO:
Stand-up flexible pouch
96%
Product weight
3.9%
Package weight
LOW
PRODUCT-TO-PACKAGE
RATIO:
HDPE cannister
83%
Product weight
17%
Package weight
LOW
PRODUCT-TO-PACKAGE
RATIO:
Steel can
67%
Product weight
33%
Package weight

CAT LITTER PACKAGE COMPARISON

Source: Flexible Packaging Association

Three common packaging formats for cat litter were evaluated for this Life Cycle Assessment study: a flexible stand-up bag, a paperboard barrier carton and a rigid plastic pail with handle. All formats meet the criteria for strength and moisture protection.

FLEXIBLE STAND-UP BAG

FLEXIBLE
STAND-UP BAG

RIGID  PAIL

RIGID PAIL

BARRIER CARTON

BARRIER
CARTON

WATER CONSUMPTION

Paper manufacturing requires significant amounts of water in the paper forming process. 

The barrier carton has a water consumption impact 3,573% more than that of the flexible stand-up bag. The rigid pail has a water footprint 1,370% higher than the flexible stand-up bag.

Water consumption

GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

Compared to the flexible stand-up bag’s greenhouse gas emissions, the barrier carton produces 331% more while the rigid pail emits 996% more emissions.

FLEXIBLE STAND-UP BAG
8,941
GRAMS per 1000 kg of cat litter
RIGID  PAIL
125,404
GRAMS per 1000 kg of cat litter
BARRIER CARTON
82,015
GRAMS per 1000 kg of cat litter

FOSSIL FUEL CONSUMPTION

The barrier carton and rigid pail respectively use 69.6%  and 1,429% more fossil fuel in manufacturing than the flexible stand-up bag.

FLEXIBLE STAND-UP BAG
2,248
MJ-EQUIV
RIGID  PAIL
34,371
MJ-EQUIV
BARRIER CARTON
3,812
MJ-EQUIV

SOURCE REDUCTION BENEFITS

The stand-up bag offers a higher product-to-package ratio compared to the barrier carton and rigid pail formats.

HIGH
PRODUCT-TO-PACKAGE
RATIO:
FLEXIBLE STAND-UP BAG
96%
Product weight
3.9%
Package weight
LOW
PRODUCT-TO-PACKAGE
RATIO:
RIGID PAIL
88.9%
Product weight
11.1%
Package weight
LOW
PRODUCT-TO-PACKAGE
RATIO:
BARRIER CARTON
92.5%
Product weight
7.5%
Product weight