Sustainable materials and solutions to individual polybags used in the retail-industry
Sammanfattning: This thesis provides an understanding and overview of the opportunities and challenges to enable a sustainable use of individual polybags used in the retail-industry. This was done by conducting a qualitative analysis including literature reviews, semi-structured interviews and e-mail correspondence. A common material choice for individual polybags is the fossil-based LDPE plastic and this packaging solution contributes to an increase in fossil-based plastic waste. Sustainable materials and solutions that can be implemented for individual polybags are therefore important, and these should be applicable in a circular economy. Caution should be taken regarding bioplastics, which often is interpreted as a “green” material choice. A clear communication and labelling regarding bioplastics is required to enable a sustainable use. Materials as bio-based LDPE and recycled LDPE can be used as sustainable material alternatives for the conventional individual polybag. Solutions that reduces the use of material or packaging solution should be prioritized, and this can be done by thinner polybags, smaller polybags or by using folding and tying techniques that possibly could eliminate the use entirely. Mechanical recycling is the preferred end-of-life option for individual polybags and closed loop recycling by re-take and collection systems could be applied as a sustainable solution. In China a paper-based material alternative should be looked into for individual polybags used for e-commerce, where the companies has no control over the package. This is due to that China has an underdeveloped waste management system and is a large contributor of plastic leakage into nature. When this material is evaluated it is of importance to discuss trade-offs concerning energy- and water consumption, pollution, end-of-life options and littering.
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