Packaging Technology and Recycling


Packaging is the technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. Packaging contains, protects, preserves, transports, informs, and sells.[1] In many countries it is fully integrated into government, business, institutional, industrial, and personal use.

a) Packaging fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the more important steps in the long and complicated journey from grower to consumer. Bags, crates, baskets, cartons are convenient containers for handling, transporting, and marketing fresh produce. The trend in recent years has moved toward a wider range of package sizes to accommodate the diverse needs of wholesalers, consumers, food service buyers, and processing operations.

Advantages of wooden crates:

High Resistance To Moisture

When compared to cardboard boxes, Wooden Packing Crates have excellent moisture resistance properties. These are, therefore, suitable for transporting products that may get damaged with moisture.

Easily Stacked

Optimum space utilization by stacking of packed goods in the vehicle is crucial for Bulk transportation. At such times, cardboard boxes may not be able to withstand the mechanical stress involved.

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Excellent Wear And Tear Strength

Unlike cardboard boxes, Wooden Packing Crates can be roughly and ruggedly handled. Being comparatively rigid, they come with excellent wear and tear strength and do not easily break or get damaged.

Disadvantages of wooden crates are:

Untreated wood can easily become contaminated with fungi and bacteria which in result rotten the frits and vegetables. Treatment of wooden crates with paint or other chemicals may cause produce deterioration. The material may be too hard or rough for produce like soft fruits, and therefore liners of a soft material may be needed and this increased the cost per unit.

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Disposal of the crates after use.

Manufacturing of wooden crates puts an extra claim on the natural forest resources.

Advantages of cardboard crates

  1. They are light in weight.
  2. They cause much less damage to fruits.
  3. They are easy to handle and print.
  4. They improve the product image.
  5. They reduce the fright cost.

There has been a gradual change in the mode of packaging for last years.For instance, earlier fruits and vegetables were used to be transported in wooden boxes but today cardboard crates are used .This is mainly to reduce the cost. Obviously,a cardboard crate would cost less than wooden crate. Moreover, using cardboard crates is more eco friendly than cutting trees and making wooden boxes and supporting an environmental cause helps firms improve their goodwill and eventually their sales.

b) Refillable Glass Bottle

In 1968, the refillable glass bottle accounted for 24% of the total fluid milk market. It was used to deliver fluid milk in a 1 and 2 quart size as well as in a 3 quart size. Over 95% of the total litres of milk sold in the refillable glass bottle was in the one and two quart size. The refillable glass bottle steadily declined in market share from 1969 to 1976 and had completely exited the market by 1977. In the last 5 years, a 1 litre refillable glass bottle has been re-introduced into the market. Sales in this package are a very minor portion of milk sales.

Plastic Pouch

The plastic pouch, made of linear low density polyethylene film, was first introduced into Ontario in 1969 in a 3 quart size package (3 separate pouches of 1 quart each packaged in a plastic outer bag). It was soon followed by the 4 litre plastic pouch package (3 separate pouches totaling 4 litres in volume packaged in a plastic outer bag) with the commencement of metric size containers in 1978. The use of the pouch has grown steadily over the last twenty-six years and now accounts for 83% of the total fluid milk market. A 1 litre plastic pouch was also used but its existence was short lived. It was introduced in 1972 and completely exited the market by 1976. There also exists a 250ml plastic pouch (commonly referred to as the mini pouch) which is being directly distributed to schools and correctional institutions by a few dairies in Ontario. This package is not yet available for sale at the retail level.

Earlier milk was supplied in glass bottles as they were reusale and could be easily delivered. With improvements in shipping and storage materials, glass bottles have almost completely been replaced with either LDPE (Liquid packaging board) coated paper cartons or HDPE high-density polyethylene recyclable plastic containers (such as square milk jugs). Recycling of bottle was a cost factor. If we try to recycle them it had to be washed and sterilized and rebroken down into size which can be fed to the extruder.

Reasons to shift from glass bottles to HDPE containers

Heavy weight- it occupies more space during transportation and storage Fragility- due to fragile nature it needs more protection from external hazards Cost- though material cost was low , it increase the cost of transportation and storage which leads fuel consumption Chemicals-effect of chemicals for washing the bottle leads to environmental hazards Later milk bags became popular as they use less plastic than traditional milk jugs and are placed in reusable plastic pitchers. These plastic bags were lighter, cheaper and safer to both manufacture and ship to consumers. Milk bags cannot easily be sealed once open Also, a common single-ply LDPE bag is easy to pierce and tear, and must be handled and transported with care to avoid product losses and a big mess.

c) Plastic furniture gaining more preference over the wooden furniture due to following reasons

A, plastic furniture are economically cheaper than the wooden furniture as to make wooden furniture one has to pay huge amount by which he/she can easily afford the plastic furniture. B, plastic furniture helps for the prevention of bugs infection as Bed bugs thrive under certain conditions which are enhanced by the availability of hiding spots close to their human hosts. Bed bugs have a strong preference for paper and wood, over metal and plastic. Porous surfaces provide more humidity and egg-laying locations. Furniture choices can greatly contribute to the control of bed bugs. C, plastic furniture are weighted lighter then the wooden furniture and they can be move accordingly by not applying much efforts as required to move wooden furniture. D, as for make or to produce wooden furniture one should need wood which come from single resource which is trees.

Which leads to deforestations and many people who prefers wooden furniture prefers that there furniture must made up from the wood of timber or teak which becomes costly and they are the endangered species and cutting down the tree and especially timber or teak government applied the huge bans on this procedure so manufacturers before making furniture prefer to make plastic furniture and due to this wooden furniture are not easily available F, plastic furniture is last longer then the wooden furniture as they are more preferred by the society Plastic furniture isn’t so costly also. It may be ideal for all of the wages individuals.

As concern social environment the manufacturing authorities of furniture goes on the above written points which make plastic furniture more preferable then the wooden furniture and as the Indian society is now becoming conscious about the society they moved aforestation instead of… d)


The cardboard box was invented all the way back in 1817 in England. The box was simple paperboard and was not corrugated, but it was a box (Kellogg Cereals helped popularize this box in the mid-1800s)

Corrugated paper was patented in 1856, but used as a liner in hats for the beginning of its existence. It wasn’t until 1871 that the corrugated cardboard box came into existence as a means of shipping and handling materials. It only took three years for the first machine to produce large quantities of corrugated board to come into being, creating the corrugated cardboard box we all know and love today. 1890 brought about another huge innovation in cardboard boxes, as pre-cut single pieces of board that could be folded into boxes were invented. By 1895, corrugated cardboard boxes jumped shores and began being produced in America for the first time. It usually consisted of a thin pasteboard with a corrugated paper center, and was largely composed of recycled paper. It was first invented in Europe during the 1900s, originally as headwear to absorb sweat while someone was wearing a hat. It was eventually utilized for packing for a variety of factors: namely, six or seven cardboard boxes can be created using the same amount of wood to create a single wooden box; it was strong as well as easy to store; and its recyclable nature made it economical in usage. Cardboard boxes also came with design variants depending on the packaged goods’ nature. Cardboard boxes remain one of the simplest ways to move things from one place to another. Whether it’s a case of juice boxes or you’re moving from one house to another, cardboard boxes help collect numerous amounts of things into one confined space for easy handling.

Key Advantages

The cardboard crate for fruit packaging provides a combination of manufacturing, shipping, retail, and sustainability advantages, including:

  • Added package strength and moisture resistance
  • Cushioned, corrugated crate protects fruit in transit
  • Reduced fiber content
  • Fewer manufacturing steps
  • Enables higher shipping density for cost savings in distribution
  • Allows for higher quality graphics vs. conventional packaging for retail display appeal
  • Can be recycled in existing paper streams


Cardboard continues to be one of the main packaging materials. While recycling and reuse are both growing, there is still room for improvement. Increasing landfill taxes and other costs, legislation and rising consumer expectations are all driving a greater corporate focus on sustainability; having a range of applications for reusing waste packaging could encourage companies to reuse instead of dispose, and simultaneously improve their sustainability and recycling credentials.

Low cost products which use innovative design, lightweight and cheap materials, are also likely to sell well in emerging economies where consumers have rising expectations but still very little disposable income.

e) Advantages of brown paper bags

  • Recyclable- brown paper bags were easy to recycle
  • Durability- brown paper bags are durable in nature and lasted longer Reusable- brown paper bags can be reused again and again

Disadvantages of brown paper bags

  • Manufacturing

While paper bags are better for the environment in their final form, their manufacture is actually not as eco-friendly. In fact, the incorporation of the polyethylene used in the making of plastic bags uses far less energy than it does with the recycled fibers used in paper bags. This is quantified in terms of energy consumption and pollution.

Recycled Paper

You use paper and paperboard products every day, from newspapers to food packaging to office paper. In fact, paper and paperboard products make up the largest portion of the municipal solid waste stream in the United States and as a result, offer the greatest opportunity to recycle. Why should we use recycled paper:

  • Saves trees, energy, water, and landfill space compared to virgin paper
  • Protects forests, watersheds, ecosystems.
  • Produces less pollution than virgin paper production

In order to help create robust markets for recycled paper products, businesses and consumers also need to purchase products made from recycled paper. A paper recycling program should operate in tandem with efforts to purchase office products made from recycled content. In our look at what it would take to make a zero waste office, we provide a number of resources for greening paper use and purchases as well as other aspects of the office. Even though 100 percent recycled paper is out there, virgin fiber makes up a large portion of the paper that is manufactured, Tensie Whelan of the Rainforest Alliance explains. When you can’t buy recycled, be sure to look for products that come from certified sustainable sources. Recycling vendors collect and recycle paper. Their ability to sell paper depends on the current state of the commodities market, which responds to demand for recycled fibers. Recycling coordinators must have the time and motivation to start and maintain a recycling program.

Environmental Friendliness

Cotton, hemp or jute shopping bags are made from renewable natural fibers, unlike propylene plastic bags that are made from limited fossil fuels. The process used to create plastic releases contaminant by-products into the atmosphere and the end product does not biodegrade for hundreds of years. Cloth bags are woven from thread made from plants and since cloth is a plant product, cloth bags are ultimately biodegradable, although most consumers choose to reuse the bags.


Cloth bags are thicker than plastic bags, which makes them strong enough to be used again and again. According to the Sierra Club website, hemp or cotton bags can last for hundreds of uses. Some types of cloth bags have a stiff cardboard insert in the base that adds additional stability. In general, cloth bags are larger than plastic bags, so they are capable of holding larger items. Plastic grocery store bags can also be reused; however, punctures or overloading can render a thin plastic bag unusable. Cloth bags are also more durable than paper bags, which lose integrity if they become wet.


Unlike plastic bags that are often transparent and decorated with a store logo, cloth bags are available in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes that can match your personal style. Cloth bags need not be used only for shopping; they make an attractive tote for carrying a variety of everyday items. Designer cloth bags can be purchased from retailers, or crafty consumers can sew their own personalized bags. Reusable cloth bags can also offer the opportunity to make a style statement about green living through advertisement of green retailers or organizations.

Besides the fact that cloth bags are better for the earth than plastic bags, they can also hold more in them. Usually up to 4 times as much. Cloth bags will not rip unlike plastic bags. Also, cloth bags are usually made out of recycled cotton or hemp. (Both environmentally friendly.) Using Cloth bags can save up to 288 plastic bags each year. People have come up with ideas to get involved with cloth bags by making their own bags by sewing them themselves. Also, people have found it easier to carry the bags if you have more than one because you wont have to worry about the handle hurting your hands or everything falling out. Also reusing the bags is a big part of cloth bags. There won’t be a build up of plastic bags at your house anymore, only a few cloth bags.

f) Once you have minimised your use of packaging, you should consider whether your packaging can be designed so that it can be reused. Reuse of packaging which requires the end customer to return packaging to the supply chain – eg glass milk bottles – has been in decline for several years. However, it is possible to have a level of reuse within your business and design packaging that lends itself more easily to reuse. The most common form of reuse for consumer products is of strong packaging that stays with the end user – such as spice jars, biscuit tins or laundry detergent bottles.

You may also be able to reuse packaging within your own business or involve other organisations – such as other businesses in your supply chain. You should consider whether packaging intended for reuse will actually get reused. For example, you may need to provide refills for people who already have reusable jars, bottles, tins, etc. There are several aspects of reuse that your business should consider when designing product packaging.

Durability and weight

The options your business could consider include:

  • reinforcing existing packaging designs to turn a one-use pack into a reusable
  • system ensuring the finish of the packaging can withstand several reuses making the packaging lightweight yet durable by using
  • alternative materials Use and handling

The options your business could consider include:

ensuring packaging is robust enough to be loaded and unloaded without any significant damage making the packaging easy to collapse and stack with clear markings on how the packs should be stacked or nested easy opening and secure closing

easy label removal and attachment to allow reuse

Cleaning and refurbishment

The options your business could consider include:

designing the packaging so that it can easily be washed ready for reuse making the packaging modular and repairable
ensuring the cleaning process can be completed with the minimum impact on the environment

g) The concept of pyramid packaging of milk relates to tetra packing wherein the milk is packed in multi-layered cartons. Such a packaging protects the milk from external factors such as moisture, oxygen, thereby, helps in preserving it for a longer time.

Cite this page

Packaging Technology and Recycling. (2016, Apr 29). Retrieved from

Packaging Technology and Recycling

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