We live in a world where every decision we make has consequences. As the country continues to ask manufacturing companies and other industries to consider the carbon footprint that they are leaving, engineers are working against the clock and each other in an attempt to create the best packaging options.
While many people think that plastic is the manmade material that we need to eliminate whenever possible, others realize that plastic is an affordable, durable, and recyclable product that actually saves energy. For example, a mere two pounds of plastic can deliver 1,300 ounces, which is roughly 10 gallons, of a beverage such as juice, soda or water. It would take three pounds of aluminum to bring home the same amount of liquid product. While many argue for the benefits of aluminum, the cost of producing and transporting the increased amount of this packaging erases many of its strengths.
Flat pouches are one option that sustainable engineers are looking at for future research possibilities. Flat pouches, and the similarly designed flat bottom pouches, offer a recyclable option that saves both weight and space in the shipping process. On the economic side, the U.S. plastics industry employs approximately one million workers and contributes almost $375 billion to the economy. As some in the nation are working to eliminate plastic as an option for packaging, these one million workers are instead hoping for continued improvement in the production of this versatile material.
Pouch packaging design can not only be a vessel for everything from pet food to cheese and meat, it also provides the option for carrying any needed printing material. Ingredients, recycling information, and colorful graphics can all be integrated into the package itself.
The flexible packaging market is estimated to grow from its $74 million impact in the year 2012 to nearly $100 million by the year 2018. Plastics engineers see their product as a field of opportunity for continued growth.