Packaging - Sustainability

Posted on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 by Charlotte HannaNo comments

Sustainable practice in the packaging industry has long been one of the top priorities in ensuring that we are not adding to the already intense climate concerns. The pressure that packaging businesses are facing to embrace new and innovative concepts in driving products to have a positive environmental impact is clear.

The idea of creating sustainable solutions to packaging isn’t a new concept, however in recent years finding solutions to waste reduction in the packaging sector has allowed more focus to be on some of the innovative ways some brands are introducing them into their full product cycle- from design to production. This has resulted in the packaging industry as a whole fostering a more environmentally friendly practice. 

At an attempt to better control packaging waste the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) have begun to oversee the delivery of the four national packaging targets with the aim of achieving these by 2025. Australia is quickly becoming the gold standard for sustainability within this sector and appeasing consumers beliefs that businesses and brand should be the ones spearheading sustainability making steps to ensure they are doing as much as possible to help the environment as appose to the government. 

 2025 National Packaging Targets:

  • 100% of all Australia’s packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 or earlier.

  • 70% of Australia’s plastic packaging will be recycled or composted by 2025.

  • 30% average recycled content will be included across all packaging by 2025.

  • Problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging will be phased out through design, innovation or introduction of alternatives.

As far fetched as these targets seem they are in fact attainable however it will require a complete and thorough change to the way packaging is designed, manufacturers and retrieved across all packaging that is made, used and sold in Australia. As of now brands and manufacturers need to face up to the challenges by requesting operational changes in order to start the transformation. 

Packaging giants like Amcor have dominated the industry pledging to develop all its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025 and joining the Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF) research programme to explore further recycling solutions. This is an immense undertaking and a commitment to not only changing current productions methods but an investment in finding long-term sustainable solutions.

Packaging manufacturer Impact International is completely committed to protecting our planet and is taking significant steps in doing so. Focusing on manufacturing environmentally responsible collapsible tubes – all powered by the first solar farm designed for industrial use in Sydney. For its commitment to the environment in its design and production of Margorie, Craig and Sarah tubes, Impact recently won the award for  Creative Sustainability at this year’s National Print Awards. These sustainable tubes were developed for brands that want to demonstrate their commitment to the environment and brand protection to their customers via their tube packaging.

Similarly, Carlsberg recently announced its plans to make beer bottles out of paper and has partnered with consumer brands including Coca-Cola and LÓreal to produce effective alternatives. As a result, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have shared plans to start selling water in aluminium cans. It really is an exciting time with all the advances being made.

Big business giants like these taking such progressive steps in reducing their environmental footprint really help to influence other companies. Making sustainability part of consumers’ everyday conversations and is likely to affect consumer behaviour when purchasing introducing a refreshing new wave of environmentally conscious shoppers. 

While global leaders invest resource into adapting their existing offerings, entrepreneurial start-ups are leading the way in radicalising packaging from the off. After all, prevention is better than cure and with new and upcoming companies such as  Arekapak already committing to creating 100% natural product packaging from palm leaves, are really setting the standard. Zero waste concepts such as edible water capsules have radicalised industry thinking, with the UK start-up, Skipping Rocks Labs trialling the revolutionary concept of a seaweed-based water capsule at this year’s London Marathon.

While It could be argued that financially economic brands packaging choices are not the most cost-effect for example recycled resin prices proving to be higher than virgin resin.  However, in a space where there is deafening customer demand, brand owners are able to look at their story with a different perspective and position themselves within a sustainable.

Globally, consumers and businesses need to believe in and endorse responsible packaging in order to contribute to a better environment. Everyone is responsible and should strive to create more economically sound choices.  

Here in the UK Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Asda will stop using black plastic in their products by the end of the year, according to a new report. The four major supermarkets will follow in the steps of Morrison's which announced a ban on the hard to recycle material last week. Iceland and Aldi are also planning to drop black plastic from their own-label food and drink ranges by the end of 2020. Currently, tens of thousands of tonnes of black plastic each year end up in landfill or being incinerated because it contains a carbon pigment that cannot be detected by recycling machines.












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