Plans ahead to give plastic packaging the boot in favour of mushroom

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Companies could save millions using ‘mushroom’ alternative

Plastic packaging for factory goods should be banned in all but the most exceptional of cases now that alternative products are on the market.

Single-use boxes used for good packaging should be made of biodegradable materials that can be recycled or mulched, saving companies millions of pounds, says a leading UK waste management company.

With British companies wasting a small fortune every year on protective packaging, it’s clear that sustainable materials should be used rather than plastics which are routinely sent to landfill, the Business Waste organisation says.

“As a nation, Britain uses over a quarter of a million tons of plastic every year, with a sizeable proportion used in packaging,” says Business Waste spokesman Mark Hall. “With newly-emerging packing based on biodegradable mushrooms available, the days of plastic are numbered.”

Hall says that current packing processes lead to enormous quantities of waste which could be eliminated at a stroke. “Tens of thousands of tons is either sent to landfill or burned,” he says, “That’s a massive waste of resources now that alternatives are on the market.”

Business Waste says that government should encourage companies to use green packaging wherever practical – either through a system of grants, or legislation to slash the use of plastics.

In most cases, plastic protective packaging for electronic goods is for cosmetic purposes only, and only exists to maintain brand image when the outer box is open.

“It’s a brave but forward-looking brand that abandons white plastic inserts and replaces them with biodegradable card or organic packaging,” Mark Hall says, “but it’s a step that businesses should be prepared to take.”

Alternatives that businesses should consider to replace plastic inter packaging include:

– Recycled card
– Biodegradable foam ‘peanuts’
– Shaped biodegradable foam
– Organic fibre inserts

The last of these is now a cheaply-available reality. It’s a type of fibre derived from the mushroom root system that can be turned into durable – yet 100% compostable – custom shapes ideal for any component or product. According to its developers, the environmental impact of this packaging is precisely zero.

“Boxes you can grow are the future,” says Business Waste’s Mark Hall. “Given enough backing an enthusiastic take-up across industry, we could finally see fewer plastics going to landfill or the furnace.”

Business Waste says that voluntary take-up may not be enough, and urges tightening of environmental laws to ensure green packaging is always considered before plastics, which should be seen as a last resort.

“The world is struggling under the weight of wasted plastic that can take up to 500 years to break down,” says Hall, “And they’re wasting their own money while they’re doing it.”

“Britain can do its bit with a ban on industry’s wasteful practices, and switch to green packaging.”

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