Recap of Sustainable Packaging Webinar

Amber, Joes, Juul, and Pien, who are Packaging & Design students at HAS Hogeschool (HAS University of Applied Sciences) in ‘s Hertogenbosch, organized the webinar together to inform the people and entrepreneurs of Oss on UN Sustainable Development Goal 12: ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’. They chose to focus on perceived and actual sustainability, along with the role of manufacturers in this process. Our CCO, Mark van der Burgt, was on hand to shed light on this topic.


Giving back

“Since we’re a packaging company and therefore leave an environmental footprint, we care about giving back to the community”, Mark says to explain his eagerness to get involved in the municipal initiative. “Also, our company happens to have the expertise needed to minimize that footprint. We are doing everything we can every day to work with the major brands on making the right decisions.”


“In fact, sometimes plastic is actually
the most sustainable solution by far”


He continues: “I also remember what it’s like being a student. During that time, I discovered that interacting with the business community is not only fun, but educational as well. I’m now in a position to share my own experiences, so I’m more than happy to contribute.”


Most sustainable solutions

During the webinar, Mark explained the concept of the ‘sustainability jungle’ and how Vetipak helps its clients come up with the most sustainable packaging solution. “And despite what many people assume, that doesn’t automatically mean using biodegradable materials”, he says.


“In fact, sometimes plastic is actually the most sustainable solution by far. We always base our decision first on the various purposes of the packaging, including protective properties, hygiene, and durability. It is only then that we consider the types of materials to be used, and minimize the thickness and quantity of these materials. I should add that the entire supply chain is a vital part of the process.”


Plastic-wrapped cucumbers

While, as a packaging company, we play a key role in the supply chain, Mark feels there are several areas that are ripe for improvement, notably education. “The world of sustainability is complex, and there are all kinds of misconceptions around it. Take the plastic wrap used to package cucumbers, for example: a lot of people think they’re unnecessary, but that packaging actually extends the shelf life of the cucumbers. So this method is in fact a lot more sustainable, as it’s a way of preventing food waste, which is less sustainable than using recyclable plastic.”


Watch the video!

We hope that Mark’s contribution – and, in the background, that of our packaging technologist Rens van de Rakt – has given useful insights into this complexity. The audience, the four students, and Cindy all seem to think so! You can catch up with the webinar here.