Have you ever stared at your package of candy or bag of chips and wondered who created the bag you’re holding in your hands? There’s a fascinating world behind your food, drink, and almost every other object that comes enclosed in plastic pouches or packaging sleeves. You have pouch packaging suppliers to thank for keeping your food or drink fresh and secure and for safely ensconcing toys, electronics, and other objects in flexible packaging while they travel to our homes. Plastic has become the packaging preference for most companies and pouch packaging suppliers have a steady business keeping up with manufacturing demands. Plastic is incredibly versatile, easy to be molded into various shapes, and most importantly: cheap to make and use.
What Is Flexible Packaging and Why Is Plastic King?
Flexible packaging is simply a type of packaging (a pouch, container, or package) that is made of flexible materials that can change in shape when filled with a substance or closed off. One of the most popular flexible packaging materials used by pouch packaging suppliers is plastic, although there are certainly other alternatives available. Flexible packaging can come in many different forms, such as bags, pouches, labels, rollstock, lids, or shrink sleeves.
By 2018, the market was predicted to grow to almost $100 million, almost $25 million more than what it was in 2010. Globally, the market will grow just over 3% ever year, raising its worth to almost $250 billion by 2015. Clearly plastic is still on the rise and will continue to be so for as long as we can find new and innovative ways to use and reuse it.
So let’s talk about plastic, which has certainly seen a transformation in its lifespan. The industry provides about 1 million jobs and contributes just shy of $400 billion to the economy every year. Plastic was introduced as an alternative to paper (and is still considered one) but in recent years has been criticized for filling landfills and being unsustainable. However, manufacturers are swiftly finding ways to make their plastics recyclable. Indeed, in 2011, a study was conducted which showed that almost 95% of Americans have a way to recycle plastic bottles. Around 40% can also recycle other types of plastic containers.
Plastic items that aren’t recyclable or have a lifespan of under three years are termed “non-durables.” Some examples of non-durables are diapers, certain toys, trash bags, cups, and sporting/recreational equipment.
Why Use Flexible Packaging?
For one thing, flexible packaging can be significantly lighter than rigid plastic packaging or other types of packaging like aluminum or glass. Only two pounds of plastic can package almost 10 gallons of beverages like juice, soda, and water. If aluminum was used to package these beverages, you would need three pounds and it would be heavier. Additionally, technology has advanced our use of plastic. So for example, a one gallon jug of milk weighs 30% less than one 20 years ago, thanks to less plastic being used to create it in the first place.
Suppliers also like flexible packaging because it can help save on shipping costs. For example, to transport the same amount of glass jars and the same amount of flexible plastic packaging, you would need 26 truckloads to carry the glass and only 1 truckload to carry the flexible plastic packaging. Think about all the money you could save by converting to flexible plastic packaging!
For consumers, flexible plastic packaging can help reduce waste. This type of packaging can keep food fresher for longer and guards against contamination. Experts in the packaging field say that for each pound of plastic packaging used, food waste could be cut down by almost two pounds! And because many flexible plastic packages can be recycled, waste in landfills also gets reduced and fewer resources are used. This also helps save on costs.
Pouch packaging suppliers have increasingly turned to flexible plastic packaging to help save on costs, space, and for increased efficiency. So next time you eat a bag of potato chips or put the lid back on a food item, think about the flexible packaging industry and all the ways it helps you!