Sustainable packaging

Sustainable Packaging


of plastic is produced annually worldwide


bioplastics or is biodegradable


corn, sugarcane, algae, bamboo, rice or seaweed


is made from mycelium or agricultural waste

Brave New Food is looking for innovative Sustainable Packaging solutions. Find updates, challenges and background information on this page.  

Sustainable Packaging Challenges

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What makes packaging sustainable

Packaging waste is taking over the world. Food and drink packaging is one of the major contributors to plastic pollution worldwide, with around 40% of plastic packaging waste attributed to food. Given that there’s no magical place called ‘away’, packaging waste either ends up in the oceans, landfill and in the air we breathe.

Sustainable packaging

Companies turn to sustainable packaging for many reasons, including corporate social responsibility, new regulations, reducing their carbon footprints, reducing waste, increasing sales - and because retailers require it, and consumers demand it. 

Transitioning to sustainable packaging is a huge challenge for the food (packaging) industry, especially because of the tension field between the wish to use less plastic and the legal requirements of needing to use plastic regarding food safety. The question rises what is truly ‘sustainable’, when less packaging may lead to more spoilage and food waste.

Returnable packaging

The global eco-friendly food packaging market is only expected to grow. Therefore, companies are seeking for new, sustainable ways to pack the goods they sell. Coupled with computing progress - think automation, AI, etc. – we are in the midst of what is known in the industry as a new Bio Revolution. 

Four types of eco-friendly food packaging are:
1. Bioplastics (e.g. made from sugarcane, algae, bamboo, rise, corn or seaweed) 
2. Compostable and biodegradable packaging (e.g. mycelium packaging) or made from agricultural waste 
3. Innovative technology (e.g. food packaging sensors) 
4. Refill stations and returnable packaging


Despite proving popular with consumers and reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, some of the bioplastic options are not suitable for all food applications and others can take a long time to biodegrade if disposed of incorrectly. Ultimately, the best solution depends on the product and its own unique use case – also known as the ‘product-packaging combination’. The availability of the raw material (renewable or nonrenewable), the scalability of supply, the production process and the recycling infrastructure in the area where the product is sold, all need to be kept in mind.

There is currently a much smaller range of bioplastics compared to traditional plastics - and it will take some time to catch up. Change is afoot and to stay relevant, food and beverage companies will need to opt for more sustainable, health-conscious packaging options.

Mycelium packaging