Packaging sustainability is essential not only to protect the environment and reduce a company’s carbon footprint, but also to better meet consumer demands. In recent years, the market has seen superior materials and more innovative technology come to the fore.
To stay in line with their consumer base and meet sustainability goals, manufacturers in the packaging and container industry must embrace these modernizations. Here is a brief look into the importance of reducing the environmental impact of plastic packaging through cutting-edge practices.
Over the past 60 years, the annual amount of container and packaging waste generated in the U.S. has increased from 27,370 to 82,220 in thousands of tons. The massive upsurge in production largely stemmed from the cost-effectiveness of plastic, as well as its ability to preserve the contents. However, the world has woken up to the hazards of plastic as it continues to fill our oceans, landfills and even the air we breathe.
The call for change is loud and clear. As consumers become better informed of the dangers of plastic, they are driving the trend of environmentally friendly packaging. What’s more, customers are willing to pay extra. According to the 2021 Global Buying Green Report, 83% of consumers aged 44 and younger claim they are willing to pay more for sustainably packaged products.
Strong convictions such as these are proving to have a powerful impact on manufacturers globally. In fact, the sustainable packaging market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.03% annually, reaching $349 billion by 2026.
How can packaging manufacturers meet this demand? One approach is a holistic overhaul. After conducting thorough audience and market research, a company can develop robust strategies that are designed to satisfy end-users and suppliers.
Brands are also experimenting with inventive packaging formats and assessing their appeal through consumer testing. Such investigation has led to more sustainable end products and less waste generation.
For instance, a Canadian company has developed compostable pouches using films which are 100% home compostable, rather than standard soft plastic. The manufacturing process for these packages involves digital printing equipment. It is reported to generate as much as 75% less waste than conventional packaging manufacturing.
Another package design innovation involves cartons and the machinery used to produce them. Constructed to reduce head space and carton size, these advanced cartoners are able to produce a container that can deliver more product to the end user in less packaging. The result is more efficient output and an overall smaller carbon footprint.
Making the decision to improve practices and strive toward sustainable packaging is good for the environment, brand identity and for the consumer. For more information on meeting sustainability goals in packaging production, please see the accompanying resource.