Protecting the environment is important. Even if environmental considerations aren’t among your company’s core values, it’s impossible to escape the fact that the climate debate plays an important role for many of today’s consumers – including when it comes to packaging.
In order to navigate a world of more or less eco-friendly packaging, there are three environmental certifications in particular that you need to know.
”Unfortunately, the strong focus on the environment means that a number of suppliers, although they may claim the opposite, cannot always provide assurance that a product is as environmentally friendly as advertised,” says Peter Mosgaard, Sales Manager at Scanlux Packaging, continuing:
“It is for this reason that you should purchase products with eco-friendly certificates, meaning you pay to document that such assurances are correct.”
FSC® – Guarantee for wood and paper products
If you use wood and paper packaging, you should invest in FSC®-labelled materials. The certificate provides assurance that the packaging has been manufactured in an environmentally friendly way by each subcontractor.
In the FSC® system, wood materials must always be traceable back to the specific forest area in which the tree was felled, regardless of how many links there are in the chain between the forest and the store in which the finished product is sold.
All companies that have FSC®-certification are checked at least once a year. In addition, there are also unannounced inspection visits. FSC®-certifications are handled by independent certification organisations. Even the independent certification companies themselves are subject to inspections. All FSC® companies have their own unique license codes, so everyone can look them up on the database and see what the company is certified to sell.
FSC®, which stands for Forest Stewardship Council®, is an international non-profit labelling scheme for wood and paper. They do not produce or sell any products themselves. Rather, they make sure that no more trees are felled than the forest can reproduce itself. They ensure that animal and plant life are protected and that those who work in the forest are properly trained, provided with the correct safety equipment and receive a decent wage.
Finally, one of the safeguards stated by the FSC® label is that forestry must be able to withstand normal market conditions.
Blue Angel – State-directed German accuracy
Blue Angel (Blauer Engel) is a label for those who want assurance that the packaging materials they use are in fact recycled materials.
The label, an initiative supported by the German environment ministry, has protected both people and the environment for more than 40 years with its high standards. The Blue Angel label can be attached to a wide range of products, although a long list of criteria needs to be met in order for the label to be awarded. These criteria differ depending on which product group your product belongs to.
In order for a plastic bag to obtain the Blue Angel certification, it must fulfil many requirements, including the plastic being made from a minimum of 80% recycled plastic.
Those behind the label also keep a close eye on technological advances that serve to improve the manufacturing process. This means that manufacturers must continuously improve the way they produce their packaging if they want to keep hold of the label.
TÜV AUSTRIA – If you want to be assured of biodegradable plastic
TÜV AUSTRIA is for you, if you who want to use 100% biodegradable plastic. TÜV AUSTRIA distributes several different certifications for compostable and biodegradable products, depending on where the product might end up.
As an independent enterprise, all of the same ground rules are offered to each packaging manufacturers, so certifications can be distributed that save the earth from the inappropriate use of plastic that cannot be recycled or decomposed by nature.
“The packaging certified by the various labels looks no different to that which is made from materials without environmental certification. There is no difference in quality, durability or appearance,” explains Peter Mosgaard, concluding therefore, that:
“Choosing packaging with an eco-label is therefore a question of attitude, and a question many currently have an opinion on. This is why when many companies choose environmentally certified packaging, they actively use it in their branding.”