We are, by default, a consumer society used to having a wide variety of products that satisfy individual needs. No longer does the purchase of food or clothes, for example, depend purely on survival. Choice and preference play their part and in a bid to keep their products as attractive as possible, companies strive for continuous improvement. As new needs arise, new markets have been created leading to greater product consumption. But there is a flip side.
An increase in the production and consumption of packaging materials involves a growing waste output at the end of life. According to a study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, globally around 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in oceans every year, most of it from food and beverage products according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Despite issues like the pandemic giving rise to more plastic waste with a lot of protective equipment (PPE) discarded carelessly, issues about sustainability, the environment, ethics, safety, quality and product costs are becoming crucial for modern-day consumers in their purchasing decisions.
Raised awareness among consumers and industries around environmental concerns is increasing the green packaging market; it is expected to register a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 5.7% over the forecast period of 2021-26.
During the last decade, recycling has been recognised as a rational necessity, compared to alternative traditional practices such as deposits in landfills or incineration. In some European countries, it is becoming a legal necessity as legislative packaging regulations are enforced. In India, the use of plastic packaging for certain purposes has been banned and most of the British supermarkets have pledged to remove unnecessary single-use plastics by 2025, under the UK Plastics Pact.
This change of mindset is making “greening” one of the main growing trends in new packaging systems. But why has greening gained such traction? Green or sustainable packaging involves the use of materials and manufacturing methods that have a low impact on both energy consumption and the environment. Greening also takes into account product life cycle and disposal issues in the early design process.
This shift has been a priority for companies since the beginning of 2020 when many switched to eco-friendly alternatives like recycled plastic (rPET), as money was invested to find innovative packaging technology that would help the environment. These sustainable initiatives have already made plenty of progress, leading manufacturers to downgrade source materials, creating thinner and lighter packaging that reduces waste.
Some of the current alternatives that are gaining the attention of companies are edible or biodegradable, or leverage plastic from the oceans and beaches as an alternative to creating new plastic.
Greening packaging systems is an increasing global concern, to the point where we are approached by some of our customers who want to optimise their environmental footprint.
To meet clients’ demands and contribute to their growing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments, Tempack’s R&D division has been busy innovating, focusing on the use of recyclable materials and the development of reusable packaging systems, whilst remaining compliant with the global Cold Chain shipping needs of the industry. Specifically, Tempack has invested in:
Moreover, as a company ourselves, we are also working to decrease our carbon footprint. In August 2020 we installed solar panels that enabled us to generate our own energy and become a more sustainable company, achieving great results such as a reduction of CO2 by 18,57 tonnes.