How Coating and Ink Technologies Are Enhancing Sustainability in Packaging

Posted by Performance Coatings Team on 03/10/2021

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. It’s certainly not a new concept, but it is getting more attention as consumers and corporations make a push to be more environmentally responsible and reduce their carbon footprints. Sustainability in packaging is one of the areas receiving a good deal of this attention.

In recent years, packaging converters have introduced packaging options to meet growing market and consumer demands, such as improving product protection, increasing product life, enhancing customization, and achieving more convenience – especially in single-use packaging applications. But today, converters face a new challenge – to deliver these same functionality and convenience benefits in a way that eases the burden on landfills, reduces the impact on climate change, and lessens the reliance on scarce resources.

In fact, the challenge has become so important that a growing number of countries throughout the world are tightening up regulations and demanding converters, manufacturers, and retailers develop more sustainable capabilities in packaging. Those companies that understand and act will most certainly be more successful than those that don’t.

Supply Chain Collaboration

While an ideal solution may be to remove packaging completely, that simply isn’t an option for all applications. However, material suppliers, converters, brand owners, and recyclers are already collaborating on a host of new sustainable packaging solutions, and advanced coating and ink technologies are behind a lot of it:

  • Reduction in Plastic Use – replacing plastic with paper is one option being widely explored. The ability to enhance paper with advanced coating technologies is delivering new performance capabilities that was once only achievable through plastics.
  • Easier Recycling using repulpable barrier coatings instead of a layer of plastic film on paper or board substrates enables waste to be more easily recycled in standard paper recycling facilities.
  • Compostable Packaging – new resin and additive technologies for coatings and inks which do not interfere with compostability are enabling broader end-of-use options for more package designs.
  • Renewable Raw Materials – new resin, additive and wax technologies based on renewable raw materials are increasing the bio-based content of inks and packaging coatings
  • Increased Recycled Content – packaging coatings that can be more easily removed, reducing contamination of substrates, may help increase the quality of recycled materials, while plastic additives can helping increase the amount of recyclate capable of being incorporated into new plastics. 
  • Increased Re-Use - using lacquers that allow labels to be quickly and cleanly removed from returnable glass bottles means that bottles can simply be reused instead of recycled or sent to landfills.
  • Reduction in Hazardous Materials – phasing out any materials of high concern from inks or coatings reduces the impact that packaging may have on people or the environment.


As a market-driven innovator of specialty chemicals for advanced coatings, inks and composites, Lubrizol is committed to helping the world move cleaner, create smarter and live better. More than just a supplier, we are a collaborator with extensive experience in surface protection, dispersion, adhesion, and barrier properties, a lot of which can is well suited to bring unique durability, functionality, sustainability and aesthetic capabilities for advanced packaging. Contact us today to explore how Lubrizol can help address the most demanding sustainable packaging needs.

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