Sustainable Packaging

As specialists in sustainable pouch packaging, every decision we take considers the wider environmental impact. By partnering with us you’ll benefit from the processes we put in place to ensure your doypack, stand up pouches, spout pouches and custom sachets are as sustainable as they can be. This helps you to do your part for the environment, and demonstrates to your customers that you’re a company that cares about sustainability.

Join us on our sustainability journey...
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Eco Friendly Pouches

At SPS Pouches, we prefer our customers to make informed decisions on the type of packaging to purchase, so we are happy to share our knowledge with you.  When designing your eco friendly stand up pouches, spout pouches and aluminium sachets, what do you need to know to ensure you have made the sustainable choice?

Biodegradable pouches

Technically, everything biodegrades (yes, even plastic) so it isn’t a great term to use to market packaging. In recent years a type of ‘biodegradable’ film called oxo-degradable was banned in the EU as it was actually found to have a negative environmental impact. We advise our customers to avoid claims of ‘biodegradable pouches’. 

Compostable pouches

This is a growing market and unfortunately, some suppliers aren’t always completely honest about the true nature of this ‘eco-friendly’ packaging solution. There are two types of compostable pouches, home compostable and industrial compostable. 

The majority of compostable pouches are actually made from a bioplastic called PLA (also still plastic), which cannot be recycled and can only be composted under specific conditions at an industrial facility - the material has a poor barrier so is not suitable for many products. There is little or no infrastructure in the UK for compostable pouches to be collected, so it’s not a great solution for all businesses.

As far as home compostable pouches go, we have yet to find anything that is suitable for protecting your products - it simply doesn’t make sense for something to be capable of degrading quickly at home whilst also being capable of withstanding the atmospheric conditions of different supply chains over a long period of time (some products will sit on the shelf for 6+ months!). 

Buyers beware, the primary purpose of packaging is to protect your products, so you need good barrier properties and something that won’t start to decompose on the supermarket shelf. That’s not to say that there aren’t good applications for compostable packaging as we move to a circular economy. A great example of where compostable pouches work well is in a closed loop environment, such as a festival or hospitality event. All of the compostable packaging and food waste can be collected at the end of the event and sent to an industrial compost facility together. 

Paper-based pouches

Most of the time, these pouches actually contain a layer of plastic film in order to protect the products inside - although paper looks like sustainable packaging, the reality is that when mixed with plastic, it is much harder to recycle. Although Kraft pouches look more eco-friendly, the reality is that countless LCA studies show that plastics are a greener solution than paper, even when not recycled. 

Recyclable pouches

SPS Pouches are committed to ensuring all of our pouches are either recyclable or reusable by 2025. Consumers can currently take their stand up pouches, spout pouches and other flexible packaging to supermarkets to be recycled. The implementation of EPR in the UK is intended to fund the infrastructure for the kerbside collection of flexible packaging over the next few years, which we fully support. 

We are also actively working on an offering to include up to 30% post-consumer recycled content into our packaging but we are not quite there yet. With the implementation of the new Plastic Packaging Tax this is something we are looking to offer alongside our mono-material pouches.

There are many other factors that should be considered when designing sustainable packaging for your brand such as packaging weight, the materials used, artwork design and resource efficiency. 

Our sustainability specialists are on hand to help with any of your concerns and questions, so please get in touch. 

Sustainable Stand Up Pouches

What makes our custom pouches so sustainable?

Our custom pouches are resource efficient and designed for recyclability. We support the circular economy and are striving towards creating a sustainable future. Sustainable packaging is about understanding the wider environmental impact of flexible materials and their alternatives, and not focusing on one aspect of a material type or the waste management system.

Our focus is to understand and keep up to date with innovative eco-friendly packaging products which can reduce your impact on the environment. Get in touch and let us help you place your sustainability values at the forefront of your business through innovative and sustainable packaging design.

Sustainability in Packaging

Why are custom printed pouches a good choice for sustainable packaging?

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Resource Efficient

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Reduces Waste

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High product to packaging ratio

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Designed for recyclability

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Requires fewer packaging materials

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Lightweight & easy to transport

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Consistent with the circular economy

Packging Sustainability: FAQs

Stand up pouches are a resource efficient flexible packaging option that can be adapted across numerous industries, products and markets. Our goal is to support our customers in the decision making process to consider the materials being used for their packaging, and help them to choose a result that is fit for their product while being as sustainable as possible. Learn more about why pouch packaging may be the perfect fit for your product with our frequently asked questions below.

Are there any recycling challenges?

The drive towards using some biodegradable and compostable materials represents a challenge and is not always considered to be helpful. Mixing bio-degradable materials with others represents a test for the current mechanical recycling schemes where they are perceived as a disruptor to conventional plastic recycling.

Are bioplastics oxo-degradable, biodegradable or compostable?

Bioplastics generally refers to three main types of packaging materials; oxo-degradable, biodegradable, and compostable. These terms are incorrectly often used interchangeably causing confusion, and where it concerns the disposal of bioplastic products, it can have serious adverse consequences.

Claiming a plastic is biodegradable without any further context, is misleading. Oxo-degradable has been heavily criticised by leading environmental groups, and there have been calls for it to be banned. Given enough time, nearly every material will biodegrade. Biodegradable is the ability of a material to undergo a chemical process during which micro-organisms convert materials into natural substances.

Compostable products require that the material biodegrades within a certain period of time and leaves no toxic residue in the soil.

Generally speaking compostable waste requires separate collection and sorting, and the packaging cannot just be thrown on the garden compost heap as much of the marketing would suggest.

What is the reality of sustainability in pouch packaging?

The overall environmental effect of flexible packaging is misunderstood. With limited national infrastructure for the collection of waste, it is increasingly important that recycling technology continues to develop. Approximately 80% of local authorities accept clean PE films for recycling, although no local authorities offering collection of PP films. The recycling infrastructure will not change overnight, and it has been estimated that £100 million industry wide recycling investment is required.

How does pouch packaging help to reduce my environmental footprint?

Before becoming waste, analysis shows the carbon footprint of a pouch to be considerably lower than that of a plastic bottle. Pouches are a lightweight solution which allow material and cost savings. Pouches occupy less space during transportation in comparison to glass or aluminium or plastic containers, resulting in a smaller environmental footprint.

How does pouch packaging fit into the circular economy?

We support the circular economy, the reduction of waste and encourage the drive to ever increasing rates of recycling. Our aim is to be at the forefront of sustainability initiatives and to fully engage in this key issue. SPS Pouches are closely following the work and research of leading independent organisations to design waste out of our pouch packaging.

How do we ensure our pouches are great for recycling?

We consider recyclability at the outset when designing your doypack packaging to ensure your bespoke pouches are designed to increase their suitability for recycling. Changes to packaging design and manufacture must be taken in the context of overall packaging performance and not in isolation, which is how SPS Pouches can assist you.

How does pouch packaging help to reduce waste?

Pouches help prevent waste which is the starting point of circular economy thinking. Changes to the design should not jeopardise the primary function of packaging, which is to protect the product it contains and avoid waste. It is a misconception that flexible packaging has unnecessary adverse environmental consequences; food waste is even more damaging. For food products, flexible packaging plays a prominent role in preserving freshness, quality and flavour.

Learn more about our custom eco friendly pouches

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Bespoke pouch design

Find out the process we follow to ensure your stand up pouch is customised and truly representative of your product and brand.

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Flexible Packaging UK

View the many different shapes and styles of pouches we offer. Learn more about the options available, and choosing the right one for you.