success of plastics as a packaging product is due to a combination
of flexibility (from film to rigid applications), strength, lightness,
stability, impermeability and ease of sterilisation. These features make
plastics an ideal packaging material for all sorts of commercial and
packaging, for instance, does not affect the taste and quality of the
foodstuff. In fact, the barrier properties of plastics ensure that food keeps
its natural taste while protecting it from external contamination. Moreover its unparalleled
versatility is demonstrated in a multitude of applications such as
packaging films for fresh meats, bottles for beverages, edible oils and sauces,
fruit yoghurt cups or margarine tubs.
The following are just some of the benefits offered by plastics packaging:
The lightest packaging material: While
over 50% of all European goods are packaged in plastics, they account
only for 17% of the total packaging weight on the market. Furthermore, this
weight has been reduced by 28% over the past 10 years! Lightweight
packaging means lighter loads or fewer lorries needed to ship the same amount
of products, helping to reduce transportation energy, decrease emissions and
lower shipping costs. It also helps reduce the amount of waste generated.
Food conservation and preservation: Plastics
packaging hygienically protects and preserves perishable food for
longer. It helps reduce waste and the use of preservatives while
maintaining the taste and nutritional value of food.
Convenient and innovative: Nowadays
people want packaging with clear identification and labelling which is easy to
open and use. Plastics packaging evolves to provide exactly that. In the near
future, for instance, it will integrate printable RFID (Radio-frequency
identification) chips based on conductive polymers, providing precious
information on the quality and status of products.
Safe and hygienic: Plastic
packaging protects against contamination of foods and medicine and helps
prevent the spreading of germs during manufacture, distribution and display.
Tamper-proof closures provide additional protection and security, while
transparent packaging allows people to look at food without having to touch it,
cutting down on bruising and other damage.