Beyond Plastic: The Changing Face of Packaging


From grocery bags to plastic containers to packing peanuts made of foam, packaging from plastic is said to be changing the world, and not for the better. In response, new technology and research is changing packaging and plastics.

Once hailed as a miracle product, plastic today has become something of an international pariah, particularly in packaging form. Since the origins of plastic in the late 1830s, scientists have given the world petroleum-based products like Bakelite, neoprene, polystyrene, nylon, polyester, polyethylene, Kevlar, and many more. Used for everything from handles for kitchen appliances, to car interior panels and pill bottles, to athletic clothing and even the printed bank notes we use daily, plastics are here to stay… or are they?

To conceive of a world entirely without plastics feels like stepping into a time machine and setting the dial back to somewhere around the Industrial Revolution, to a time without cell phones, computers, cars – and a billion other familiar products. Still, many of us do remember a world without so much plastic packaging – a time when groceries were carried home in paper bags, when milk and soda came in returnable bottles, and when products were sold in simple cardboard boxes, not shrink-wrapped in plastic film. Read Full Article - Business in Focus, September 6, 2019