By: Hadyn Oliver
3 Minute Read
What’s that you say? Glassine?
You may have heard of it, but it’s unlikely.
With the climate crisis being a top concern for many across the world, innovation and creativity have been playing a big part in making packaging more sustainable. Plastic has been the go-to for mailing solutions for years, due to its low costs, durability, transparency, and light-weight. The only issue with plastic is its sustainability.
To be able to classify as “sustainable” in your business, you need to switch to a more recyclable, biodegradable or compostable packaging.
But let’s get back to the topic, glassine. What actually is it?
Glassine is relatively new to the packaging side of things, which is why you may not have heard of it. It’s made from 100% paper, coming from wood pulp, making it fully recyclable and biodegradable. It makes it the perfect environmentally friendly alternative to plastic.
Any paper or card products can be recycled into new products around 26 times before they lose their strength. The life cycle of glassine paper is steeped in eco-friendly qualities, aiding a circular economy and avoiding the harmful effects on our environment like the single-use packaging.
You may have actually seen glassine paper before, but in a different way. Bakery packs, archival paper and tracing paper to name a few. They are all made from glassine paper.
Resistant to moisture, grease and dust: Unlike standard paper which absorbs water, glassine paper is less susceptible to absorbing any water vapour.
Durable and strong: Glassine is actually stronger and more durable than standard paper of the same weight due to it being denser. Like all paper, glassine is available in different weights, so coming in different strengths.
Toothless: A “tooth” is the surface feel of paper. The higher the “tooth” the rougher the paper. Glassine has no “tooth”, so it’s not abrasive. This is important when it’s being used to protect delicate items and art.
Doesn’t shed: The standard paper sheds tiny fibres, but, due to glassine being pressed, the surface is smooth and glossy meaning it does not shed onto your products.
Translucent: This is a big feature of the glassine bag. It allows a customer to visualize what is on the other side. While it’s not 100% clear, it’s translucent enough to work well in various functions, from baked goods to clothing.
Static-free: If you’ve ever used a thin, clear poly bag you’ll know how annoying they can be when static. The bags cling to each other, and to products making them a pain to work with. Glassine is anti-static.
We often get asked, is glassine more sustainable than a plastic?
A better way to put the question is, can glassine replace existing packaging material at the same time as helping achieve my sustainability goals?
Let’s have a look at the eco characteristics that glassine has:
So is it eco-friendly, of course. Is it more sustainable than plastic? Yes.
But can it be made more sustainably, as a matter of fact it can. Glassine is currently made from virgin paper, so it hasn’t yet been recycled.
All things said, we would prefer to have a 100% recycled glassine paper, but currently this isn’t possible. However, the functionality and durability of glassine make it an excellent choice for business looking to become plastic-free.
For a fully plastic-free paper parcel, you can use a paper mailer bag as your outer packaging. Depending on the weight and size of your objects, you can choose a fully recyclable and FSC certified paper mailer with a peel and seal strip. The paper mailer is a popular alternative to polythene mailer bags. Glassine can be used as inner packaging, especially for clothing and fabric products. These can be placed inside the glassine bag before being packed into the paper mailer. Complete it with a paper document wallet and you have a fully plastic-free and recyclable mailer.
With the growing awareness of sustainability, new sustainable packaging is always being developed. With new, sustainable ways to package our products, it can help reduce our negative impact on the planet. It now lies with your business, it’s up to you to champion the use of the eco-friendly packaging and lead the way in making your brand more sustainable.
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