- Aasavari Joshi
Businesses are Increasingly Developing and Adopting Circular Packaging
Most packaging currently produced and used is still single-use and non-recyclable, even though sustainability is becoming an increasing priority for consumers when purchasing. Packaging is often not only an important aspect of a product's visual appeal to consumers but also helps to extend a product's shelf life. Many businesses have yet to sufficiently prioritize sustainability and circularity when considering packaging design, use, and disposal. The "take, make, dispose" economic model still heavily dominates the global production process. According to data from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, only 14% of the plastic packaging used worldwide is recycled. Concerningly, 40% of it ends up in landfills, and another third in delicate ecosystems like the ocean. According to one prediction, our oceans may contain more plastic than fish by 2050.
Many businesses are adopting goals as ambitious as producing new packaging entirely from recycled materials to reduce the excessive use of virgin materials. Indorama Ventures and Loop Industries have partnered to create a joint venture using Loop Industries' technology to create PET resin and polyester fiber that is entirely sustainably generated. Procter & Gamble is also reconsidering how they may use recycled plastics more frequently and effectively in their products and packaging. Through internal R&D initiatives, they have, for instance, created the PureCycle technology to recycle polypropylene plastic, producing a substance that can serve as a high-quality substitute for virgin polypropylene plastic. This recycled polypropylene plastic is then employed as a production material in goods, including electronics, building supplies, and packaging for food and drinks.
The fact that many organizations are trying to change the current trajectory of increasing plastic waste pollution by devoting resources to creating more circular packaging solutions is a positive development. Such innovative organisations are developing ways to recycle packaging waste indefinitely and to let it function again as raw materials for other goods. It is a great illustration of the circular economy at work and excellent news for many reasons, not just for environmental conservation, but also for creating corporate value.
"A third of customers are now opting to buy from businesses they believe are doing social or environmental good," as Unilever revealed in a global study. Consumers tend to care most about recyclable packaging because recycling is something they feel they are able to contribute to. However, recycling is a challenging industry in many places, particularly in poorer nations. Issues include the ineffective sorting of recyclable materials which leads to the wastage of a significant percentage of it, poor working conditions and wages for the industry's workers, and insufficient regulations and standards to effectively regulate recycling processes and outcomes.
Environmental degradation caused by discarded plastic packaging has reached catastrophic levels, with known detrimental effects on ecosystems and even human health. It is hoped that businesses will be encouraged to produce and package their products in a more ecologically conscientious manner as consumers grow more environmentally aware and hold corporations and their packaging standards accountable. Some leading companies are shifting their strategies toward sustainable and innovative packaging design to address this global issue. By doing so, they succeed in opening new revenue streams and forging distinctive competitive advantages within their industry. Societal and environmental benefits are not the only reasons for change. According to the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), the value of new distribution models and shifting usage trends in the plastics industry is estimated at around $9 billion.