Trader Joe’s just announced a plan to cut one million pounds of single-use plastic from its stores. Earlier this year, Nestlé rolled out its first efforts to eliminate single-use plastic, starting with removing plastic straws and shifting products like Nesquik from plastic to paper packaging. It plans to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.
A few short years ago, these might have sounded like audacious goals. But in today’s food and beverage landscape, sustainable packaging has quickly shifted from “nice to have” to a “must-have.”
The world’s plastic consumption is about 300 million metric tons annually. That’s 88 pounds of plastic generated per year, per person. Aside from the environmental implications, sustainable packaging is also gaining traction due to shifting consumer demands. A 2018 study on consumer packaging preferences found that sustainability and environmentally responsible packaging is becoming a primary purchasing factor for more consumers.
What does this mean for your brand’s packaging? It’s time to start exploring sustainable packaging solutions, if you haven’t already.
Innovative materials and engineering
With rising concerns about climate change, sustainability is front and center in the eyes of both consumers and packaging engineers. The goal? Reduce raw materials and eliminate unnecessary material waste.
Packaging Europe recently highlighted emerging innovation in the environmentally friendly packaging space. One company created a disappearing cement sack that disintegrates in the cement mixer and becomes part of the concrete itself. Another, Iceland Foods, went 100% plastic free in 2018. L’Oreal rolled out a line of paper bottles to much fanfare. You’ve likely also seen the viral story about a grocery store in Thailand using a banana leaf as packaging.
But being sustainable doesn’t necessarily mean reinventing the wheel or eliminating one material in entirety. By working with a packaging engineer who is material neutral, you can leverage all available options to enhance your packaging sustainability.
A streamlined supply chain
Sustainability isn’t just about your packaging materials and engineering. The way your packaging supply chain operates plays a major role in the size of your carbon footprint. It’s time to get savvy about how you’re getting your packaging from production to your customer’s door—whether that’s a club store, “mom and pop” shop or a consumer who purchased your product online.
This another area where an experienced packaging and inventory partner can help you meet your sustainability goals. Using a single partner to manage the entire packaging and fulfillment process helps ensure every step is aligned to minimize your carbon footprint. Here’s just one example: By improving your packaging’s stacking designs, you can maximize how you palletize and use valuable carton space. This increases efficiency and reduces waste. With a siloed approach to packaging, opportunities like this often get overlooked.
A sustainability-minded packaging partner
If you’re like many brands, you partner with a packaging company who designs and engineers your packaging—and in some cases, even provides services such as inventory management and warehousing. If you have a packaging solutions partner, it’s crucial that they share your commitment to sustainability.
At Victory Packaging, we work closely with our customers to understand their sustainability targets. Then, we do everything we can to ensure they reach them. In the process of helping our customers manage costs, we often redesign their packaging to reduce fiber and streamline transportation along the supply chain. The result is an environmentally-friendly approach to not just packaging but the entire process of getting your products to your customers.
Are you looking to make your packaging and inventory management more sustainable? Contact us today to see how our Architects of Packaging Solutions can help you succeed.