As mentalities are fast changing and facing new challenges and new consuming habits, Raconteur, an independent publication of The Times, has just set a full report on the future of packaging. It summarizes how consumers are being aware of their impact on the environment, but also how industrials are facing these changes by inventing new ways to overcome the problem of material shortage, inflation or material price rises and how the UK government pushes them to find new solutions to fight against packaging waste and introduce circularity of the supply chains and environmentally friendly packaging as a response to it.
On the other hand, to improve customer engagement, innovations in the integration of RFID technology are also widely adopted to track and trace the packaging and avoid anticounterfeiting.
Other innovations are also considered in order to drive inclusivity for disabled persons and improve human experience, for example with braille printing or temperature sensors on the packaging.
In the tin-plated steel packaging industry, they are focusing on their image of premium quality and the high level of recycling of the material.
The pandemic has led to an increase of online shopping and with it, the increase in e-commerce packaging consumption. More widely, the concern in packaging consumption and especially single-use packaging is growing. In this context, the packaging is bearing a higher responsibility and Raconteur introduces how industrials from various horizons face the new challenges ahead to make their packaging more sustainable.
On the one hand, in the paper and corrugated packaging industry, the main challenges rely on durability whether in the past they were trying to make their packaging more aesthetic mixing different types of materials in them (eg: plastic lamination to make the packaging moisture resistant) but in the current context, maintaining low prices and avoiding multiple materials is predominant.
That being said, plastics keeps an important role as it’s being demonized and responsible of about 2.5 million tonnes of plastic packaging waste generated each year in the UK.
As the recycling of it is becoming higher year after year, the target of recycling rates is to get from 44,2% in 2021 to 50% in 2025 and to 55% by 2030. But this is far from being the only way to increase the sustainability of the material.
Actually, the decrease of carbon emissions for plastics can be reached by many ways.
One way could be to increase recycling after use, and this can be achieved either by mechanical recycling or chemical recycling. The other way to decrease plastics packaging emissions is to make it more durable. That can be achieved through a circular model being implemented.
That’s precisely what Lucas van der Schalk, Corplex’ CEO explains in this report, by trying to highlight how easy it can be to replace single-use packaging by reusable plastic packaging, thus avoiding lost materials or packaging that go to landfill after use.
Indeed, reusable plastic packaging, that have a longer lifespan outperform their cardboard counterparts when being used over 6 times. They also show a significant decrease in carbon dioxide when being recycled compared to cardboard.
In this context, it is obvious that even if many aspects are to be considered in this changing era, there are still an important point to be taken into consideration which is to choose the most sustainable packaging as possible for the dedicated application.