Calling for green and promoting environmental protection have become the theme of our time. With the strengthening of people’s environmental protection ideology, in order to rectify “white pollution”, in many areas, it has been banned to use foam plastic tableware that is difficult to degrade in a short period of time, and paper tableware has taken the lead in the market for a time. All this seems to tell people that "to replace paper with plastic" is the inevitable trend of green packaging. However, is it really that simple? To establish a fair and objective viewpoint, we must also adopt scientific assessment methods. This article will introduce you to some of this knowledge.

With the intensification of global environmental pollution and the destruction of the ecological environment, calls for attention to life, attention to the environment and development are increasing. Establishing environmental awareness and vigorously developing the green packaging industry are important ways for China's packaging industry to shorten the gap with developed countries, adapt to the development of domestic and foreign trade, meet the world economic integration, and promote the development of China's environmental protection industry. It is inevitable for the sustainable development of the packaging industry. select. Many experts and scholars have published articles and proposed that "paper packaging is the mainstream of green packaging," and "substituting paper for plastic" is the inevitable trend of green packaging. Some people even think that "paper is a sunrise industry in the 21st century." The development of green packaging will bring "business opportunities" to paper packaging. Are these views correct and objective? How to evaluate green packaging and how to promote green packaging? This is an important issue that cannot be evaded in front of us.

First, green packaging is a technical system that runs through the entire life cycle of packaged products.

The most important meaning of green packaging is to protect the environment, but it also has the significance of resource regeneration. Green packaging generally refers to packaging that is harmless to the ecological environment and human health, can be reused, reused or degraded, and can promote sustainable development. It has the characteristics of saving resources, energy, reducing quantity, easy recycling, avoiding or reducing waste generation, and not polluting the environment. It is a technical system that runs through the entire life cycle of a product. A green packaging product must be comprehensively measured from the selection of raw materials, manufacturing, use, recycling, and disposal of products, to meet the requirements for protecting the ecological environment, and to maintain a virtuous circle in the natural ecosystem.

Second, the green packaging system evaluation system

1, green packaging requires an assessment system

Green packaging is a system. How to correctly evaluate this system is the key for the relevant state departments to formulate relevant policies and laws and ensure the smooth implementation of green packaging.

In the discussion of how to develop green packaging, paper packaging and plastic packaging have always been a hot topic of concern. It seems that plastic packaging is the "culprit" of white pollution, and paper packaging is the "mainstream of green packaging." Here, we do not want to underestimate the superiority of paper packaging. We do not have to evade the hard-to-decompose properties of plastic packaging. Paper packaging as "the mainstream of green packaging" is really so perfect? ​​The answer is no. Paper packaging waste is easily degradable, easy to recycle, and does not cause environmental pollution. However, during the process of making paper from paper raw materials, the waste liquid can actually contaminate a Huai River. In addition, environmental problems such as the obstruction of the Yellow River, land desertification, and sandstorms are mainly due to the severe destruction of green vegetation. It cannot be said that it has nothing to do with paper. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see conflicting results from the same point of view from different perspectives. The improvement of this environment may lead to the deterioration of another environment. It is not uncommon for one-sidedness of decision-making due to imperfect evaluation methods. The success or failure of green packaging needs to be tracked and assessed. It is therefore necessary to establish a comprehensive and objective normative system for comprehensive assessment of different environmental impacts. Then life cycle analysis method LCA (Life
Cycle Assessment) As a comprehensive evaluation system for green packaging came into being.

2. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

The International Environmental Toxicology and Chemical Society (SETAC) defines the life cycle analysis method as an objective method for assessing the burden on the environment caused by a product, process, or activity through the identification and quantification of energy, raw material consumption, and waste emissions. That is to say, when assessing a certain kind of packaging, it is necessary to examine how much it consumes in the entire closed cycle from the exploitation of natural resources, after processing and manufacturing to finished products for disposal, recycling, recycling and return to the natural environment. Energy, how much of a harmful substance's evaluation system has been produced. It can perform qualitative to quantitative assessments, it considers the impact of the product's entire life cycle on the environment, not just the impact of the product production phase on the ecological environment. It not only considers the impact on a region, but also considers the impact on the biosphere, while considering the potential impact on the future. Although LCA has some technical limitations, compared with many environmental assessment methods, LCA is undoubtedly the best evaluation method at present, which is reflected in the scientific nature of the assessment, and the depth and breadth of assessment.

3, life cycle assessment method still needs to be further improved

In terms of theory, LCA is an ideal evaluation tool for achieving sustainable development, but it needs to be further improved such as: cost/benefit issues; standardization of evaluation methods; data additivity and reliability issues. Due to the non-account of environmental costs, some traditional packaging industries and packaging products that waste resources and pollute the environment have lower costs. They have price advantages in market competition, while green products generally have higher prices and are at a disadvantage in market competition. Such as one-time non-degradable foam plastic utensils plus the cost of post-processing costs of green tableware is ten to ten times higher than the price of green tableware, but since the previous one-time non-degradable plastic foam tableware did not count the post-processing costs, there is no computing environment. The cost is far lower than the price of green tableware, and it is popular in the market. As a result, green packaging products that are conducive to environmentally sustainable development lose their competitiveness. Therefore, necessary laws and regulations must be established to ensure the smooth promotion and implementation of green packaging technology. At present, domestic foam plastic tableware has gradually been replaced by paper tableware. This "paper-based plastic" strategy is not the best way to solve the problem, and it still needs further study.
Although paper cutlery can easily solve environmental problems that are difficult to solve with plastic tableware, it is non-toxic, odorless, does not contaminate food, and can be degraded in a short time after being discarded. However, for scientific and technical personnel, comprehensive assessment must be conducted on the entire life cycle behavior of the product. .

From the available data, although the paper has less negative impact on the environment than the foamed plastic tableware in terms of recycling, the energy consumption of the paper, the generation of air pollutants and water pollutants are all higher than the entire life cycle. More foam plastic. Therefore, paper-based substitution is not the best way to solve the problem. From the above comparison table, it is impossible to draw a firm conclusion. It can be seen that green packaging is a systematic production process and must be fully followed up.

Third, the conclusion

Green packaging fully embodies the ideological strategy of coordinated and sustainable development of environmental protection and economic development. Protecting the environment and developing green packaging have become an inevitable choice for the development of packaging in countries around the world.

The green packaging system involves the entire life cycle of a packaged product. Evaluating a packaging system must use the life cycle method to persist in examining the total impact of all aspects of the entire life cycle on the environment in order to make a correct, objective and comprehensive judgment and avoid decision-making. Subjectivity and blindness.

Vigorously promote green packaging, not only to develop and apply green packaging technology, but also to establish a compatible green packaging implementation system including management, evaluation, policies and regulations. The establishment of a life cycle method for the comprehensive evaluation system of green packaging is an important part of the system and creates the necessary conditions for the establishment of a correct policy and legal system.

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