Sustainable Food Packaging Solutions in Malaysia

Food Packaging Market in Malaysia 

The food packaging market in Malaysia has been growing steadily in recent years, driven by increasing demand for convenience foods, changing lifestyles, and urbanization. According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, the food packaging market in Malaysia was valued at USD 2.37 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 3.04 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 3% during the forecast period (2021-2026).

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The report also highlights that the growing demand for processed and packaged food products in Malaysia has led to an increase in the use of various types of packaging materials such as plastics, paper, metal, and glass. Among these, plastic packaging dominates the market, owing to its lightweight, durability, and cost-effectiveness. However, there is also a growing concern over the environmental impact of plastic packaging, which has led to an increased demand for eco-friendly and sustainable packaging solutions.

Overall, the food packaging market in Malaysia is expected to continue its growth trajectory in the coming years, driven by factors such as increasing urbanization, changing lifestyles, and the growing demand for convenience foods. However, there will also be a growing focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness, which will drive innovation and the adoption of new materials and packaging solutions.

Food Packaging Malaysia Impact to the Environment

Food packaging can contribute to the generation of waste in Malaysia. Packaging materials such as plastic, cardboard, and paper are often discarded after use, which can lead to increased landfill waste.

Image source: FoodPrint 

This situation is made worst as plastic packaging is takes hundreds of years to decompose. In Malaysia, plastic packaging can end up in rivers and oceans, harming marine life and causing long-term environmental damage. Moreover, the production and transportation of food packaging can also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change.

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According to a report by Solid Waste Recycling and Public Cleansing Corporation Malaysia, solid waste generated in the country increased from 37,100.29 tonnes per day in 2015 to 38206.82 tonnes per day in 2021, with plastic waste accounting for the largest proportion of the waste stream at 13.2%. This highlights the scale of the plastic waste problem in the country and the need for effective waste management strategies.

To address the environmental impact of food packaging in Malaysia, the government has implemented various policies and initiatives, including the the Roadmap Towards Zero Single-Use Plastics, and the Plastic Waste Reduction Roadmap. These aim to reduce food waste generation, promote recycling and composting, and encourage the use of sustainable packaging materials.

What is Sustainable Food Packaging Solutions 

Sustainable food packaging solutions are packaging materials and custom food packaging designs that minimize their negative impact on the environment and promote the efficient use of resources throughout their lifecycle. Packaging solution is aimed to reduce waste generation, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and promote a circular economy by maximizing material recovery and recycling.

Some examples of sustainable food packaging solutions include:

Biodegradable or compostable packaging

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Biodegradable materials are designed to break down naturally in the environment, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills or oceans.

Recyclable packaging

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Recyclable materials can be easily recycled and made into new products, reducing the need for virgin materials and saving energy.

Reusable packaging

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These materials can be used multiple times, reducing the amount of waste generated and saving resources.

Minimalist packaging

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This approach aims to minimize the amount of packaging used for a product, reducing waste and resource consumption.

Renewable and/or recycled content packaging

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These materials are eco-friendly as they are made from renewable resources or recycled materials, reducing the environmental impact of production and promoting a circular economy.

In addition to the materials used, sustainable food packaging solutions also consider the entire lifecycle of the packaging, from production to disposal. This includes factors such as energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste generation.

Importance for Sustainable Food Packaging

Sustainable food packaging has become increasingly important in recent years, as consumers and businesses recognize the impact of non-sustainable packaging materials on the environment. 

Reduces waste

Image source: Packaging Digest

Sustainable food packaging can help reduce the amount of waste generated from packaging materials. According to the United Nations, up to 5 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year, and much of this waste ends up in landfills or oceans. By using sustainable packaging materials, we can reduce the amount of waste generated and minimize the environmental impact of packaging.

Preserves natural resources

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The production of food packaging requires the use of natural resources such as oil, timber, and water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2018, 27 million tons of plastic waste was generated in the United States alone. By using sustainable packaging materials, we can reduce our reliance on these resources and preserve them for future generations.

Reduces carbon footprint

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The production and transportation of food packaging materials contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. According to a report by the World Wildlife Fund, by 2030, global plastic production could account for up to 13% of the total carbon budget. Sustainable packaging materials can help reduce our carbon footprint by using materials that are renewable and biodegradable, such as plant-based plastics or recycled paper, which reduces the need for fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources. 

This also decreases the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, as the materials can break down more easily and return to the earth. Altogether, sustainable packaging plays a vital role in reducing carbon footprint by promoting more efficient and responsible use of resources, and encouraging companies to adopt more sustainable practices in their operations.

Protects the environment

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Sustainable food packaging can help protect the environment by reducing pollution and waste. According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, by 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. Sustainable packaging materials can help prevent this damage and preserve the natural beauty of our planet.

Supports a circular economy

Image source: Packaging World 

Sustainable food packaging can support a circular economy, in which materials are reused and recycled rather than discarded. According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, transitioning to a circular economy could generate $4.5 trillion in economic benefits by 2030. By using sustainable packaging materials, we can create a closed-loop system in which materials are reused and waste is minimized.

Types of Sustainable Food Packaging 

There are several types of sustainable food packaging in Malaysia that are currently available in the market. Here are some examples:

Biodegradable plastic

Biodegradable plastics are made from materials that can break down naturally in the environment, such as cornstarch, cassava, or sugarcane. In Malaysia, there are several companies that produce biodegradable plastic packaging for food, including Bio-Lutions Malaysia, ECOSENSE, and Bioplastic (M) Sdn Bhd.

Compostable packaging

Compostable packaging is designed to break down in a composting environment, leaving behind only natural materials that can be used as fertilizer. There are several companies in Malaysia that produce compostable food packaging, including Green Eco Paradise and Cleanpro Express.

Paper-based packaging

Paper-based packaging is made from renewable resources and is recyclable and biodegradable. In Malaysia, paper-based food packaging is commonly used for products such as burgers, fries, and sandwiches.

Bamboo-based packaging

Bamboo-based packaging is a sustainable alternative to plastic packaging. It is biodegradable, compostable, and made from a renewable resource. There are several companies in Malaysia that produce bamboo-based food packaging, including Bamboo Vento and Green Eco Paradise.

Metal packaging

Metal packaging, such as aluminum cans, is infinitely recyclable and can be recycled repeatedly without losing quality. In Malaysia, metal packaging is commonly used for products such as canned foods and beverages.

Its without a doubt that the sustainable food packaging options in Malaysia are expanding, with more companies offering innovative solutions and creative ideas to reduce waste and environmental impact while preserving the shelf-life of food simultaneously. By choosing sustainable food packaging options, consumers and businesses can make a positive impact on the environment and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Packaging by the environment, for the environment

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Food packaging is not something to take lightly, after all, they store the food that we will eat. With QPack, customers can expect quality and sustainable right packaging for your business.

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