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Frequently asked questions

We covered questions most encountered. If your question is not listed please connect with us!

About packaging

  • What is the right sustainable packaging?

    Our sustainable packaging design allows for fact-based choices between packaging designs, it includes a 4-step approach with metrics for: 1. Environmental impact from materials 2. Food waste 3. Market acceptance 4. Costs The number and type of metrics we use will depend on the business question being asked. A simple question about the weight or recycled content of specific packaging options will require the use of just one metric. By contrast, an overall assessment and comparison of the entire product and packaging systems will require a lifecycle approach and the use of a wide range of metrics. The metrics we commonly use are: source reduction, recyclability, footprint of materials and food waste (carbon footprint, fresh water usage, energy usage) . The preferred materials in our model are mono-materials, recyclable non-biodegradable plastics (PET, PP and PE) and bio-based/renewable cardboard or pulp. Non-recyclable biodegradable plastics (PLA, starch based) are not preferred as - to date - these are easily confused by the consumer with conventional plastics and end up in the wrong waste stream, contaminating recycling streams. This should be thrown out with non-recyclable waste, and is therefore not a sustainable solution, as this is immediately burned. Packaging materials that has been made from mixed materials that consumers won’t automatically separate are also not recommended for use.

  • Is there scientific evidence that packaging combats food waste?

    Yes! Footprint (CO2 eq. and water usage) of pre-packed outbalances most often outbalance the food waste due to losses in the supply chain and at the retailer for unpacked fresh produce.. This holds true not only for the bespoke sleeved cucumbers (unless these are regional), but for most fresh produce. There are exceptions, especially when the food-to-packaging ratio is low, as is the case for products like spinach, where pre-packed does not outbalances the impact of losses of unpacked spinach. From a mere footprint point of view those products are best sold loose, yet other factors can be considered of higher importance to the public - like hygiene, easy of transport, portioning and branding – which make retailers decide sell the product pre-packed.

  • Can packaging ever be 100% sustainable?

    No packaging is not completely sustainable because manufacturing requires energy and creates waste. But designers can make packaging more sustainable by considering environmental impacts during manufacture, use and disposal while ensuring optimum performance in protecting the product. The main problem arises from over-packaging, which is costly for manufacturers and annoying for consumers. However, a prime function of packaging is to avoid food-waste in the supply chain. We need to balance under-and over-packaging. Under-packing needs to avoided to prevent food-waste, yet over-packing also needs to be avoided to avoid costs and address confusion with consumers. Therefore, upon achieving the optimum pack design we need transparent and responsible communication to consumers. It is all about finding the innovation sweet spot where consumer needs, environmental impact, technical capabilities, and supported by transparent and responsible communication to the consumer. The material choice depends on the product, how it will be stored, how it will be dispensed, whether it will be heated or cooled, how it will be transported, displayed in shops, used by consumers and disposed of.

About sustainability

  • What is recycling?

    Material recycling is defined in European standard EN 13430 and EN 16848 (adapted from ISO 18604) as the reprocessing of a used product material into a new product. Plastic which after use can be collected, sorted and reprocessed into new products is called mechanical recycling. Another option is chemical recycling where materials are broken down to monomers which can be used again for the production of polymer.

  • What is biodegradation?

    A product that can be broken down by microorganisms (bacteria or fungi) into water, naturally occurring gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) and biomass. Biodegradability depends strongly on the environmental conditions: temperature, presence of microorganisms, presence of oxygen and water. The biodegradability and the degradation rate of a biodegradable plastic product may be different in the soil, on the soil, in humid or dry climate, in surface water, in marine water, or in human made systems like home composting, industrial composting or anaerobic digestion.

  • What is composting?

    Compostable materials are materials that break down at composting conditions.

    Home composting creates conditions with much lower and less stable temperatures than industrial composting. There is no CEN standard for plastics that are suitable for home composting but several countries have developed and applied national standards for testing and certifying of home compostable materials.

    Industrial composting conditions require elevated temperature (55-60°C) combined with a high relative humidity and the presence of oxygen, and they are in fact the most optimal compared to other everyday biodegradation conditions: in soil, surface water and marine water. Compliance with EN13432 is considered a good measure for industrial compostability of packaging materials.


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