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Guide To Sustainable Packaging Materials 2020

Sustainable Packaging Materials On Yellow And Green Background

It’s a fact: from food to face masks, pretty much all physical products need some kind of packaging. Whether it’s purely for postage purposes, or because your product needs protection, packaging is hugely important in the retail sector. Packaging is important for a whole host of reasons – from increasing awareness of your brand to product recognition to ensuring safe delivery of your goods. But as concern about climate change gains traction, so do worries about packaging – from the type of materials to the amount of packaging in circulation. But there are plenty of comparatively sustainable packaging materials out there that can improve your business’s eco-friendly credentials.

As the UK’s leading packaging supplier, we know a thing or two about sustainable packaging materials. Here’s our guide to keep you up to date with the latest trends and types of eco-friendly packaging materials you can use in your business.

Sustainable Packaging Materials – What’s Best?

Glass Packaging

Glass is typically considered the most eco friendly material out there. As well as being fully recyclable, it’s made from abundant natural materials such as sand. This means it doesn’t use up our precious natural resources in production. Consumers love glass, too, because it has a premium look and feel that’s difficult to replicate with other materials.

But while there are lots of benefits to glass, it can be less sustainable than other packaging materials when it comes to despatching and transporting your goods. Glass is typically heavier than other packaging materials, so it costs more to send. This also means you can send fewer units in one journey – and more journeys mean a higher carbon footprint.

Eco-Friendly Plastic Packaging

Plastic has a pretty bad reputation as a sustainable packaging material, but if you use the right kind of plastic, it can be a great choice for a whole host of products. Eco-friendly plastics like recycled PET or post-consumer recycled HDPE offer all the benefits of regular plastic, but are made from products that have already been used and recycled. That means we use fewer virgin plastics, which has a great environmental impact.

Both PET and HDPE plastic are strong and shatterproof, so you can transport your goods without risking breakages. PET in particular is a great alternative to glass packaging, as it’s totally transparent and has a premium finish. Both plastic types are also lightweight, so you can transport more items in a single shipment. This will help you reduce your carbon footprint. Best of all, both rPET and PCR HDPE are fully recyclable time after time!

Aluminium Packaging

Shiny aluminium offers a totally different look to both glass and plastic – and it’s a great eco-friendly packaging material. Aluminium retains its quality and integrity no matter how many times it’s been recycled. This makes it a great option for high-end products that look great in shiny aluminium jars or bottles.

Like plastic, aluminium is lighter than glass, so it offers cheaper, more eco-friendly despatch processes. However, also like plastic, the processes involved in creating aluminium from scratch can be harmful to the environment. It’s important to be mindful of where your packaging materials come from before you buy.

Which Is The Best Option For My Product Or Brand?

At Ampulla, we offer all three of these eco-friendly packaging materials in a huge range of forms so you can pick the option that works best for you. We’ve got years of experience in the packaging industry, so when it comes to choosing your perfect sustainable packaging, we’d recommend taking a few things into consideration.

First, your brand aesthetic. It’s important to ensure your packaging matches your brand look, whether that’s sleek and minimalist or bright and colourful. Our recycled PET bottles are available in a range of colours as well as classic clear, so shop our range here. For vintage or retro style brands, glass may be the best fit.

Affordability is also key. It’s not just about the price per packaging unit – you should also take despatch costs into account. Glass is heavier than aluminium and plastic, so it’s more expensive to post.

Other things to consider include ease of labelling, opacity of your bottle or jar, the type of dispenser cap you want to use and whether your product needs additional protection from light or air. No matter what you need from your sustainable packaging materials, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in our extensive eco-friendly range.

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How To Brew Your Own Cider

brew your own cider header

Over in the USA, apple cider is a soft drink that is essentially just concentrated apple juice. But we all know that traditional British cider is where it’s at… Here in the UK, apple cider is fermented, which makes it alcoholic and it is revered as being a quintessential taste of summer, a staple of the West Country and is available in a massive array of fruity regional flavours. So how can you brew your own cider at home? We’ve found an easy to follow recipe from Countryfile that can help you learn the basics.

What home brewing equipment will you need? 

You’ll need: a juicer, straining bag, 5 gallon bucket open top bucket, 2 gallon bucket (you will need to drill 30 holes into the bottom), hydrometer, funnel, demijohns, measuring jug and cider bottles.

We’ve got a fantastic 30L Plastic Fermentation Bucket that would be great for making cider with, as it has a handy measurement guide printed on the side. We also have a wide range of glass beer and cider bottles with crown caps that are perfect for filling with your finished beverage.

What ingredients will you need?

Ingredients: 8kg apples, 5g champagne yeast, Campden tablets and sugar (only needed if you want to make sparkling cider). This quantity of ingredients will make 5 gallons (approximately 22 litres) of cider.

How To Brew Your Own Cider

Step 1: Pick Your Apples

If you’ve got an apple tree in your garden then great, but if not, supermarket apples are just as good. The type of apple you pick will determine the taste of your cider, so choose wisely. Bramley apples will produce a sharp, tangy cider, whilst Gala apples will create a sweeter flavour. You could even use both tangy and sweet apples together to make the perfect brew!

Step 2: Clean Your Home Brewing Equipment

Fermenting cider is a scientific process and it’s important to make sure that the equipment you’re using is free of any dirt or germs that might interfere with the process. Make sure that you soak all of your equipment in hot water for a couple of hours before use and add 4 Campden tablets per gallon of water used to sterilise them.

Step 3: Juice The Apples

Now that everything is clean and ready to go, you can extract the juice from your apples. Set up your juicer so that it dispenses the juice into your straining bag, which should be placed in your smaller straining bucket (with the 30 tiny holes drilled into the bottom). The straining bucket needs to above your larger fermenting bucket, which is where your perfectly filtered juice will end up. The straining bag and stating bucket will filter out all the tiny bits of pulp and skin that gets through the juicer’s filters, leaving you with a crystal clear apple juice. Measure the gravity of your pure apple juice using your hydrometer and record the measurement (you’ll need it later). Check out this handy guide to using a hydrometer, if you haven’t used one before.

Step 4: Add Yeast

Take a 1 pint measuring jug, fill to the top with some of your apple juice and then add 5g of champagne yeast. Leave for half an hour then stir thoroughly to disperse the yeast throughout the mixture. Divide your yeast mixture between your demijohns, then fill them to the top with the rest of your apple juice.

Step 5: Leave It To Ferment

Place your sealed demijohns in a warm place (between 15°C and 20°C) and leave them for 3-4 weeks until you have a clear cider.

Step 6: Measure The Alcohol Content

Use your hydrometer to measure the gravity of your cider. You need your cider to have a reading of 1 or less. If the reading is higher than 1, then leave the mix to ferment for a bit longer. Once you have your final measurement, then you can work out your cider’s alcohol content percentage using an ABV chart. You are aiming for an ABV of 4-5%.

Step 7: Dispense Into Bottle & Add Fizz (Optional)

You can now dispense your cider into your cider bottles. If you want a fizzy cider, then you need to add half a teaspoon of white sugar to each bottle before pouring in your cider. If you then leave your bottles for a few more weeks, your cider will be fizzy!

Step 8: Kick Back & Enjoy!

Cider is best served chilled and enjoyed on a sunny, warm(ish) British summer’s day. If you start making your home brew cider now, then you can have it ready for this summer!

Like our guide on how to brew your own cider? Then we think that you’d also like our guide on how to sterilise glass bottles properly!

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How To Sterilise Glass Bottles

how to sterilise glass bottles

Knowing how to sterilise glass bottles is important for anyone in the business of selling food and drink. As well as getting the glass clean of any dirt or residue that could be leftover from warehousing or transportation, the sterilisation process also kills off any nasty bacteria that would not usually be removed by just giving the glass a quick rinse in water.

Why Is Sterilising So Important?

You must sterilise your glass before use in consumer products for the following reasons:

  • Customer safety. If your glass is not sterilised properly, there could be some nasty germs lingering inside that could make your customers ill when they eat your product.
  • Product integrity. Some types of food or drink could react negatively with any bacteria that has been left on your glass packaging, therefore causing the taste or texture of your products to change.
  • Increases shelf life. By removing the germs and bacteria from your glass bottles and jars, you are increasing the amount of time that your product can be stored and safe to eat.

So how can you sterilise glass at home?

How To Sterilise Glass Bottles: Step By Step

This short guide is perfect for home bakers or small food producers to follow, however if you are a large producer, then it is more efficient for you to use large machines that are specifically designed to sterilise on a mass scale.

Step 1

First of all, you need to take your glass bottles and wash them throughly with hot, soapy water. DO NOT dry them with a tea towel.

Step 2

Next, you need to heat your oven to 140 degrees celsius or higher, place a sheet of baking paper on a middle shelf, then lay your glass bottles and *lids on it. Make sure that they are not touching each other, then leave to bake for 20 minutes until they are dry.

*Do not bake any lids that have rubber seals in the oven, as they will melt or lose shape. Instead, you will need to boil them in hot water and leave to dry in a rack.

Step 3

Take your glass out from the oven and leave to cool. Do not attempt to fill your bottles when they are still hot, as adding cold liquids to hot glass can cause the glass to crack. Once your bottles are cool, you are then free to fill with them with whatever wonderful drinks you so desire!

It’s that easy.

Great Value Glass Bottles For Juice, Smoothies, Water, Beer & Wine!

Whether you’re a small manufacturer or a a giant global conglomerate, our tiered pricing structure means that you always get the best price for the amount of units that you order. Wine, beer, juice, milk… we’ve got all your drinks packaging needs covered. Check out a few of our favourites!

glass bottles for drinks

For Wine: 187ml Green Glass Bordeaux Bottle & Silver Screw Cap

  • 43p each or less when you buy in bulk!

For Beer: 500ml Clear Glass Beer Bottle & Gold Crown Cap

  • 34p each or less when you buy in bulk!

For Smoothies250ml ‘Costalata’ Swing Top Glass Bottle

  • £2.43 or less when you buy in bulk!

For Juice: 250ml Glass Farmers Juice Bottle & Gold Twist Cap

  • 33p each or less when you buy in bulk!
Liked our guide on how to sterilise glass bottles? Then we think that you’d also like our discussion as to why glass packaging is making a comeback in Europe.