ESG Company news South Africa

Greenwashing: What is bioplastic, compostable and biodegradable packaging anyway?

Let us unpack the industry terms for good
Greenwashing: What is bioplastic, compostable and biodegradable packaging anyway?

With the recent implementation of the amended regulations pertaining to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), under the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008, industry jargon is splashed all over the media. Terms such as biodegradability, compostable packaging, renewable content and bioplastics are the talk of the town, but what does this really mean? We want to encourage consumers and value chain members to trust, but verify!

Packaging: the benefit, the design, the impact

At least 80% of the environmental impact of a packaging item is determined during the design phase. The Mpact design centre can expertly design packaging that optimises the environmental benefit, performance and product-material ratio and fully comply with sustainable design principles.

There is no simple answer as to which packaging medium is the best for the environment. Truly sustainable packaging decisions are more complex than simply replacing one material with another. As an example, some materials may enjoy a smaller carbon footprint but require more water or heat to convert, thereby, affecting the cradle-to-cradle environmental impact. Being lightweight, durable and flexible, the unique nature of plastics means that it naturally reduces a variety of environmental impacts across resources such as energy, water and greenhouse emissions, compared to its alternatives.

Terminology: using the same lingo

Being vague about industry terms will only solve half of the challenges that we as stakeholders face! Greenwashing is the act of misleading consumers regarding environmental practices or environmental benefits pertaining to a packaging item or a company’s product or service.

Clarity and education regarding industry terminology is the fuel that will not only drive us forward but also draw our efforts together!

Mpact Plastics is a leading producer of rigid plastic packaging and cling film in southern Africa. We operate out of nine production centres across the country, providing packaging from plants with relevant certifications. We service the food, beverage, personal care, home care, pharmaceutical, agricultural and retail markets. In upholding company values, and as a supporter of the circular economy, we positively contribute to industry associations, enabling various communities to participate in recycling solutions.

Mpact is the largest paper and plastics packaging and recycling business in Southern Africa. Our integrated business model is uniquely focused on closing the loop in plastic and paper packaging through recycling and beneficiation of recyclables.
Let's do Biz