Things About Packaging That Nobody Knows

Up until now, you rarely heard companies talk about how sustainable or innovative they are when it comes to packaging. They’ve relied on customers to pick up on it and notice that something has changed. But the developments in the packaging industry in particular are too important not to tell people about them and rely on , i.e. customers, to pay attention. And yet there is still a great deal of potential in this field, because at the moment there are only a few topics more important than recycling or the circular economy.

Environment Concept Hand Holding White Paper With Recycle Symbol on Green Bokeh Background

Packaging manufacturers have to comply with more and more regulations and are under enormous pressure to produce as little waste as possible. In fact, this is even implemented, just often not communicated. And this is exactly what is becoming increasingly important.

The packaging industry is committed to take action in all areas of the value chain. This also goes beyond the simple procurement of raw materials and naturally includes recycling.

After all, the recycling rate of beverage cartons, for instance, is set to rise up to 90%. But would you have heard about it if we hadn’t written about it here? And that’s where the problem lies! To put some social pressure on yourself, it is also important to talk about what you plan to do. After all, if you don’t tell anyone about your plans, no one can complain if they aren’t realized.

It Has Already Begun

Now it’s not as if the industry has only just come up with the idea of becoming more sustainable. However, it is often the customers of packaging suppliers, such as brands, who pick up on this in their communications. Already in recent years, many of these companies have, by themselves, 

“already reduced their packaging consumption and increased the proportion of recycled materials in their products”, 

says Nick Brown, Head of Sustainability at multinational bottling company Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.

They are even working on developing a paper bottle so that PET bottles are not only made of 100% recycled plastic, but new ways of doing things are being explored.

Whether you start changing things on your own as a company or band together, all industry players must take responsibility for their part in the environmental crisis and do their part to solve the problem, according to Marco Ten Bruggencate, Commercial Vice President of Packaging and Specialty Plastics for EMEA at chemical giant Dow.

“Incremental change is not enough. We need major innovation and investment to meaningfully address the crisis,” 

he argues.

“Our stakeholders expect us to bring about the change we need. Only those companies that make the necessary leaps will survive.”

Dow has set some ambitious environmental goals of its own. These include making the company’s packaging 100% reusable or recyclable by 2025, removing 1 million tons of plastic from the waste stream by 2030, and making the entire company carbon neutral by 2050.

Sustainability is on Everyone’s Mind

Jenny Wassenaar, Vice President of Sustainability at Trivium Packaging, believes the industry needs to develop more effective education campaigns to raise public awareness of the problems it is trying to solve.

“For example, we know there is a gap between the actual recyclability of materials and consumers’ perceptions of their recyclability,” 

she says.

“Promoting sustainable packaging starts with objectively communicating to consumers the differences in recyclability and recycling rates of materials.”

Everyone For Themselves and All Together

No one should rely on the fact that others are already developing solutions that can simply be adopted. Everyone must try to innovate in their own way to solve the challenges of the packaging industry together.

Based on the motto: “If the industry knew what the industry knows,” all industry players should work together and not against each other. No one wins unless we all share our experiences and develop them together. That’s why it’s also important to talk about them. So that other companies know. So that customers know about it and so that everyone is aware of what an important topic sustainability already is in the packaging industry. 

Do you see any potential for improvement in packaging? Do you believe in the paper bottle? An exciting future lies ahead of us.

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