Raconteur

Future of Packaging 2020

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R A C O N T E U R . N E T 05 of £50 a tonne in 2017 to more than £400 in 2019. However, when these costs are modelled for large and mid-sized businesses, it is calculated that for every £1,000 a company was spending on plastic compliance in 2017, they are now spending more than £8,000. "When you have a business that operates on very small margins, either the company will go out of business or the cost will be passed on to the consumer," says Harding Brown. "They need to identify their liabilities and optimise where possi - ble. There's a storm coming." Despite these caveats, it is widely thought the plastic packaging tax will revolutionise the UK's recy- cling industry. "The problem with recycled plastics is that virgin plas- tic has tended to be less expensive," says Dr Teresa Domenech, lecturer in industrial ecology at University College London. "But this tax should make secondary plastics more attractive." There is a risk materials other than recycled plastics could be incentivised, according to Domenech, or that recycled plastics will be imported from other coun - tries rather than being produced in the UK. But if the correct system is in place, she believes the recycling targets could be exceeded. "It will take time and investment to reach the targets, but you could reach even higher levels of recycled mate - rial in the future," she concludes. Coca Cola By 2025, Coca-Cola has pledged to ensure its packaging is 100 per cent recyclable and that at least 50 per cent of the content of its plastic bottles comes from recycled content, with an aim to achieve 100 per cent in the future. Coca-Cola in western Europe is set to reach 50 per cent recycled content in 2023, two years earlier than its stated goal. The Honest, Glaceau Smartwater and Chaudfontaine brands have already transitioned to 100 per cent recycled plastic. It has worked to remove all unnecessary or hard-to-recycle plastic through lightweighting and the removal of all secondary packaging made from plastic. The Co-op The Co-op supermarket chain has committed to only using 100 per cent recyclable plastic packaging where it helps reduce food waste and extends longevity. In November 2018, the Co-op became the first UK retailer to replace single-use plastic carrier bags with compostable alternatives, removing around 40 million single-use plastic bags from circulation. By the end of 2021, it has pledged to make 100 per cent of its own brand packaging easy to recycle, a move which will be facilitated by the rollout of the UK's largest scheme to recycle plastic film, and to use a minimum of 50 per cent recycled plastic in food packaging, bottles, tubs and trays. Mattel Toy manufacturer Mattel has set the goal of achieving 100 per cent recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials in its products and packaging by 2030. It has looked to adopt pioneering, sustainable materials such as the sugarcane-based plastics used in its Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack and Baby's First Blocks toys, which also come packaged in 100 per cent recycled or sustainably sourced material. Currently, Mattel uses 25 per cent recycled material within most of its plastic packaging and the company says it is actively working to increase this figure. DeymosHR via Shutterstock Three companies' plastic pledges tonnes of plastic packaging used each year Over 2m Gov.uk 2019 of all the plastic used in the UK is for packaging 44% of all plastic waste comes from packaging 67% Commercial feature ransparency, a concept already gaining ground before the pandemic, has been galva- nised by the rapid spread of the corona- virus, showing just how quickly change can be implemented if the need arises. Consumers are also increasingly demanding transparency, with 70 per cent saying trust in a brand is more important now than in the past, according to research by Edelman. As consumers learn more about how packaging waste, especially plastics, ends up in landfills and oceans, they want to know and understand where products came from and what their environmental footprint is. Conscious consumers are increasingly aware of a product's journey and the need to move from a linear to a circular econ- omy, whereby products are designed to be reused, recycled or composted. Sustainable innovation is required in the packaging industry to enable a truly circu- lar economy, and ultimately regenerative practices, to be achieved. A recent report by Avery Dennison, titled The New Transparency, under- lines the importance of transparency as a powerful tool capable of giving busi- nesses unprecedented control over their supply chains and environmen- tal footprint, while offering consumers increased visibility, safety and education. It outlines ways businesses can offer a higher level of trust, including through digital identities, tracing and sustainable materials, within four cate- gory-specific microtrends: blockchain and analytical technologies, labelling, packaging and secondary waste. "First and foremost, consumers are demanding this information; they want Need for more transparency drives sustainable innovation Consumers are demanding more transparency over the environmental footprint of the products they consume, driving a growing movement towards sustainable packaging to understand the environmental foot- print and be able to trace the prove- nance and journey, in detail, of the prod- ucts they buy," says Renae Kezar, global senior director and head of sustainabil- ity at Avery Dennison. "But embedding transparency also serves to unlock more effective decision-making for busi- nesses, increasing their resilience. "Materials will play a key role in achiev- ing a transparent circular economy. In the packaging sector, the circular-econ- omy model handles all stages of a prod- uct life cycle: design, production, dis- tribution and use, but also its 'afterlife'. "Considering sustainability and even striving for regenerative business models from the start of the cycle means designing materials to take into account resource efficiency, reuse and recycling, and avoiding use of critical or toxic materials." Avery Dennison is a global materials science company that specialises in the design and manufacture of labelling and functional materials. Its engineering solutions are sustainable in their own right and improve the sustainability of any value chain they're part of. The organisation's intelligent labels, for example, offer the potential for huge gains in sustainability by enabling far more efficient supply chains and better communication with consum- ers about proper recycling and food- waste management. The continued advance of sustaina- ble innovation in the packaging indus- try relies on engagement and collab- oration across the whole ecosystem, from initial choice of materials and design of packaging and labelling solu- tions, right through to a product's afterlife. Avery Dennison engages with venture startups, brands, recycling companies, forward-thinking suppli- ers and manufacturers, as well as other capability and technology enablers. "The ecosystem is much broader than people think," says Hassan Rmaile, vice president and general manager at Avery Dennison, Europe, Middle East and North Africa. "Breaking new ground in sustainability requires us all to expand our idea of our ecosystem and adopt 360-degree thinking, with the understanding that game-changing ideas can come from anywhere. "The biggest change we see is we are not alone in thinking this way anymore. More often than not, we are approached by brand owners that come to us, as the market leader, for a labelling solution which meets their sustainability goals. "As trailblazers for regeneration and innovators in the labels and packaging industry, we aim to delight our con- sumers on all fronts with advanced materials, design, aesthetics, experi- ence, sustainability and technology. "While serious strides have been made already, the future is coming fast and change is a constant. We always aspire to be at the forefront. Whether it's pack- aging that vanishes, easily enters the cir- cular economy, is digitally connected or has longevity through upcycling, brands must be prepared and embrace new technologies, materials and sustainable designs as they become available." Read Avery Dennison's report on The New Transparency at label.averydennison.com/transparency T As trailblazers for regeneration and innovators in the labels and packaging industry, we aim to delight our consumers on all fronts

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