8 sustainable packaging innovations for food and beverages

From upcycled barley straw cartons to paper soda bottles, manufacturers are testing a range of options to minimize their ecological footprints. Here are some of the most novel approaches.

Sustainability may seem like a buzzword in the food industry today. But as consumers demand more environmentally friendly practices from companies and brands, there has been a rush of pledges and action around cutting carbon emissions throughout the supply chain, supporting regenerative farming and tackling food waste.

One of the biggest opportunities for action has opened up around packaging. From recyclable to compostable options, brands are developing innovative ways to wrap their goods that not only ensure freshness, convenience and food safety but also minimize their ecological footprint.

In the months leading up to Earth Day 2021, several companies have announced new and novel approaches to sustainable packaging, including beer cartons made of upcycled barley straw and molded pulp rings for soda cans

This past year, Boxed Water swapped out the plastic caps on its packaged water with one made from pine tree waste. This update made the entire packaging 92% recyclable. And just this past week, Lamb Weston’s Alexia brand announced new packaging for its Organic Sweet Potato Fries and Yukon Select Puffs made from corn and potato starches — byproducts from making French fries. The packaging, which was two years in the making and will launch this month, will eliminate the equivalent of 252 trash bags from landfills and 14 barrels of oil each year, according to the company. 

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