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Sustainable packaging materials for finished goods

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Fabrics and membranes help make farming more sustainable in many ways, but a large portion of agriculture’s environmental footprint has to do with the packaging and distribution of the goods. Luckily, Megaplast S.A., a packaging company headquartered in Heraklion, Crete, Greece, has developed pallet-wrapping films that reduce product and packaging waste and can be recycled, making the whole process a bit greener.

Air-O-Agri is a low-density polyethylene film that’s used to wrap pallets of fruit and vegetables. It’s a large, open mesh, which means less material is used, and the agricultural products can “breathe.”

David Hays, sales manager at Megaplast’s Raleigh, N.C., office, says the company chose low-density polyethylene because large produce distributors tend to have recycling programs in place for it. It uses 100 percent virgin resin because it is most easily recyclable.

“Normally, what a company would do in the past—say, as little as three to five years ago—would be to use corner board and strapping so the pallet wouldn’t tip over in transit,” says Hays. “With our product, you can get rid of a strap and the corner board, so we’ve reduced cost. We’re reducing materials at the source, plus we’re helping shippers meet their green initiatives because it’s a lot tougher to get rid of corner boards and strap.”

Megaplast makes similar products for the floral industry. Breathable, recyclable films can be used to wrap plant racks, like the ones used to deliver greenery to big-box stores, or to wrap boxes of flower bouquets.

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