In an article published in the June 2014 edition of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) publication, Gordon Robertson points out that sustainable packaging may come to mean biobased rather than biodegradable packaging. He points to a 2005 Sustainable Packaging Coalition report requiring sustainable packaging to be sourced, manufactured, transported and recycled using renewable energy. Currently, no packaging material on the market fulfills these criteria. Robertson stresses that it is necessary to develop a broad consensus on what may constitute sustainable packaging. He asserts that using biobased and biodegradable materials for single use packaging materials is not sustainable, as converting materials into gas should only be a last resort. Instead capturing energy through reuse or incineration is more efficient, Robertson argues. He concludes that this has also been accepted by large companies, which have opted for biobased but not biodegradable materials.

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Gordon Robertson (June 2014) “Biobased but not biodegradable.” Institute of Food Technologists, 68, 6.