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The Drive Towards Green Air Cushion Packaging

The packaging industry is gaining traction every year due to the launch of innovative sustainable solutions. Air Cushion packaging is widely used to pack items and send them from one place to another. The product finds its wide applications in e-commerce, personal care, electronics, pharmaceuticals, FMCG, and other industries. The demand for air cushion packaging is at its peak due to the growth of these sectors. However, growing concerns over air pollution and plastics have increased the demand to adopt sustainable solutions. Moreover, increasing public awareness regarding the harmful effects of plastics is another key factor surging the demand for businesses to introduce sustainable solutions.

According to a study by Astute Analytica, the global air cushion packaging market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of ~5% during the forecast period from 2021 to 2027. The rising trend of biodegradable air cushions is one of the prominent factors driving the growth of the industry. Here is everything you need to know about sustainable solutions in the air cushion packaging industry.

Biodegradable Air Cushions

The concerns over air pollution are at their peak. Moreover, plastics are far easier to recycle than destroy. Ongoing innovations in the air cushion industry are forecast to change the outlook of the overall industry. Industry players are rapidly moving towards adopting sustainable solutions in order to cater to the growing demands of the public. For instance, Easypack unveiled a new ‘green’ air cushion solution in 2017. However, companies still need to outperform and expand R&D activities in order to offer more efficient solutions.

Biodegradable plastics decompose naturally in the environment. They are manufactured through natural products, such as starch. The structure of biodegradable plastics allows them to break down with the help of natural microorganisms. Thus, it is considered less harmful to the environment.

Furthermore, they are considered an ideal solution to minimize environmental pollution and its harmful impact on the population.

Walmart’s Flipkart recently made headlines as the company announced to cut single-use plastic packaging from the supply chain. The company is aiming to shift its sustainability focus to sellers.

Paper Cushions

Paper packaging is gaining rapid traction across various industrial verticals. Industries are focusing on increasing the deployment of sustainable solutions and replacing plastics with biodegradable packaging. For instance, in May 2020, Amazon announced its initiative to eliminate waste in its e-commerce supply chain. The company made headlines as it declared its aim to eliminate single-use, thin-film plastics like bubble wrap and air pillows with paper cushions in India in May 2020.

Moreover, there are innumerable benefits of paper cushions that are influencing their use in the market. For instance, paper cushions are 100% biodegradable, recyclable, and compostable in nature. Furthermore, it rapidly gets decomposed in the ocean and is very easy to recycle. The growing environmental concerns are also boosting the growth of this sector because paper cushions reduce the amount of CO2 emissions in production.

What is Stopping this new Revolution?

While both the trends have their own advantages, the industry is still lagging due to the disadvantages it offers. The fact that biodegradable plastics can break down really easily can drive the industry really forward. However, bioplastics still leave a residue of microplastics, which is an ultimate disadvantage. In addition, companies need to follow very specific disposal methods, and if hampered, it can affect the decomposition process. Moreover, dumping bioplastics directly into landfills may result in unnecessary methane, which is 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

On the contrary, paper cushions are less strengthful and protective in comparison with plastic packaging. Thus, businesses find it difficult to switch to paper cushions.

The growing number of partnerships and acquisitions are expected to benefit the overall industry. The air cushion packaging industry is witnessing rapid changes with each passing day. Key industry participants like Pregis, Sealed Air Corp., Abriso N.V., Atlantic Packaging, 3G Packaging Corp., and Shandong Xinniu are launching innovative solutions in order to cater to the demands of the end-users. In addition, a growing number of partnerships and acquisitions to expand the product portfolio will be a significant benefit for the entire industry. Industry players are investing heavily with the aim to expand their offerings in other regions. For instance, Sealed Air acquired Foxpak, an Irish flexible packaging specialist, on 3 February 2022. According to the information, Foxpak will build digital packaging solutions, and this acquisition will help Sealed air expand its product portfolio.

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