A company that needs to package their products have choices in which material they use for packaging. Traditionally companies could use polystyrene materials, which are commonly injection molded or extruded for packaging. However, companies are becoming aware of the environmental impact of polystyrene, such as the inability of the material to biodegrade. Finding new ways to make an impact are crucial for our planet. Sustainable packaging is not only the future, but the now as well.
Polystyrene packaging is unable to be recycled and would have to be disposed of in a landfill. Therefore companies are looking to use recyclable and biodegradable packaging materials where possible. With starch-based packaging materials, the product is biodegradable but is not an inferior material when compared with synthetic polymer materials.
When we started Related, it was a scramble to find an option, which fit our aesthetic and was functional. Also finding the best way to package our underwear and socks was important. However, we didn't pay attention to how the packaging was going to impact the environment. Over the years we became more conscious of our packaging and made it a point to do our best towards becoming a more sustainable company from our products to our pacCorn Starch Based Materials.
Instead of using packaging materials made from synthetic polymers, new material has been developed using polylactic acid (PLA), which is made from fermented sugars, usually from cornstarch. The materials made from PLA are biodegradable which is important for the environment and the sustainable effects are crucial.
The corn-based packaging material is preferable for companies as the raw material, corn is sustainable, cheap, and easy to produce. Corn is the least expensive and most abundant source of commercially available sugar. Synthetic polymer materials are produced from petroleum, a non-sustainable item that can be expensive depending on the price of oil.
Corn starched packaging does have some interesting advantages over synthetic materials such as reduced static electricity. Materials made from PLA have advantages and disadvantages over synthetic polymer materials. Some properties of PLA are low flammability, high aroma barrier, uV resistant, and compostable.
The advent of cornstarch-based materials has allowed companies like ours to choose a packaging material that is good for the environment and still suitable for their packaging need, in our case, underwear and socks. As supply chains become increasingly aware of the importance of moving toward sustainability, greener options like corn starch packaging are being recognized as more than just a public relations alternative.
By making a shift toward sustainability, supply chains ultimately lower their costs because the raw materials needed to make corn starch packaging is cheap and easy to produce. The increased usage of corn starch packaging will bring its costs down further - and therefore will allow this greener option to become even more readily available.
Shop our sustainable collection below.