Webstores – also known as eCommerce companies – are big users of plastics in their packaging. The package itself might be paperboard but seldom the tape sealing of the package nor the padding in the box.
However, there are plastic-free alternatives available. Padding could be replaced by paper-based products and plastic-based tapes could be replaced with renewable fiber-based tapes. Actually, it is possible to make the package plastic-free!
Plastics in webstore packaging might not sound problematic, but let’s put this into scale. The annual webstore sales have been estimated to be at USD 25 trillion in 2019 and it has been expected to grow 4.5% annually until 2023. According to a study, the average order value of a webstore purchase is USD 128. Considering the total market value of USD 25 trillion this translates to approximately 195 million parcels in 2019.
In almost all cases boxes are sealed with plastic tape. We have estimated that over 90% of the packaging tapes are plastic tapes (BOPP). This creates a huge amount of plastic waste, that has to be separated from the box during the paperboard recycling process. Plastic tape waste either ends up to landfill or incineration plants. From the process point of view, fiber-based tape materials are preferred as they can be recycled in the same process as the paperboard. This also improves the quality of the recyclable raw material and reduces waste which supports the circular economy.
If we estimate each packaging has one meter of plastic tape it would be 195,000,000 kilometers (121,167, 382 miles). The amount would go nearly 5,000 (4,873) times around the world. Considering the current estimate of 10% of being fiber-based tapes, it covers less than 20 million kilometers. These are covered from renewable sources and some of the tapes are even biodegradable.
Read more about our fiber-based packaging tape solutions.