Why Are CPG Brands Straying Away from Lamination?
By Ryan Moskun, H&B Marketing Manager
Packaging plays a crucial role in the branding and protection of products. According to a World Advertising Research Center 2021 Study, packaging was the second most effective media channel, behind videos. As consumer preferences evolve around environmental concerns, packaging brands are constantly seeking innovative solutions to meet their requests. One trend that has gained traction in recent years is the move away from plastic lamination in packaging materials. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this shift and dive into the various factors influencing brands to steer clear of lamination.
|The Rise of Sustainable Packaging|
The Environmental Impact of Lamination
Lamination involves the applying of a thin plastic layer onto packaging materials. The single-use-plastic used in lamination, often made of polyethylene or polypropylene, is generally derived from non-renewable fossil fuels and is not biodegradable. This means that lamination contributes to the growing issue of plastic pollution, and can end up in places like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Inevitably, the lamination on the sheet will turn into microplastics that become nearly impossible to clean up.
Consumer Demand for Eco-Friendly Solutions
In recent years, consumers have become more environmentally conscious and are actively seeking out sustainable products, as seen in this article published by Forbes. As Forbes shows, consumers are more likely to choose brands that demonstrate a commitment to reducing an environmental footprint. CPG brands have recognized this shift in consumer behavior and are adapting their strategies to meet these expectations by finding lamination alternatives, such as coating. By eliminating lamination, brands can offer packaging solutions that are more environmentally friendly and appeal to a broader consumer base.
|Technical Limitations and Challenges|
One of the primary reasons CPG brands are moving away from lamination is the recycling challenge it poses. Paper and plastic can not be recycled together; the thin plastic layer used in lamination is very hard to remove from the paper materials during the recycling process. Most recycling facilities are not equipped to handle this process. As a result, lamination can contaminate recycling streams and reduce the overall recyclability of packaging materials. This creates a significant obstacle for brands aiming to have recyclable packaging.
Lack of Compatibility with Sustainable Materials
Recycled paper and bioplastics are on the rise, and lamination presents a compatibility issue. Putting lamination on recyclable materials defeats the purpose of using them in the first place, and reduces the ability to recycle or compost. Packaging brands are actively exploring lamination-alternative protections and embellishments, such as aqueous coatings, that allow them to maintain the integrity of their sustainable materials.
|Cost & Quality Considerations|
Higher Production Costs
Lamination adds an extra offline process, which can increase costs significantly. The additional equipment, materials, time, and labor required for lamination contribute to higher production expenses. Additionally the plastic material has a high sheet-to-sheet cost. As brands seek cost-effective solutions without compromising quality, many are starting to turn to speedy coating-based solutions.
Preserving Product Integrity
Lamination can provide a protective barrier against moisture, UV light, and physical damage, enhancing the durability of packaged products. With that being said, there are other finishing alternatives that offer similar protections. Brands are investing in research and development to find innovative alternatives that preserve the integrity of their products while eliminating the need for plastic-based lamination.
|FAQs About Avoiding Lamination|
1. What are the alternative packaging materials that brands are considering?
CPG brands are exploring a range of alternative materials such as recycled paper, bioplastics, and compostable materials such as coating. These options offer sustainable alternatives to lamination and align with the growing demand for eco-friendly packaging solutions.
2. Are there any regulations or laws promoting the elimination of lamination?
Various governments and organizations have introduced regulations and guidelines to promote more sustainable practices. For instance, the European Union has implemented restrictions on single use plastics, to which lamination falls under.
3. What are the challenges faced by packaging brands in transitioning away from lamination?
Adequate protection, product branding, and quality are among the top challenges. These are easily circumvented by planning with their printer's finishing department to find alternatives that will still support their brand. However, the growing demand for sustainable packaging solutions is driving brands to overcome these obstacles, and allowing leeway for brands as consumers accept changes based on sustainability.
4. What can consumers do to support packaging brands in their transition away from lamination?
Consumers can play an active role by choosing products packaged in sustainable materials and supporting brands that prioritize eco-friendly packaging solutions. Additionally, proper recycling practices and advocating for stricter regulations on single-use plastics can contribute to a more sustainable packaging industry.
The shift away from lamination in packaging materials reflects the growing demand for sustainable solutions and the need to address environmental concerns. Packaging brands are actively exploring alternatives that align with consumer expectations, offer cost savings, and maintain product integrity. By embracing sustainable materials, investing in research and development, and responding to regulatory requirements, brands can navigate the transition away from lamination and contribute to a more eco-friendly packaging industry.
Are your brands also moving away from lamination and to more eco-friendly solutions? Reach out to us at H&B and we'll help you make the transition.