Due to public and regulatory concerns, sustainability has arrived at the forefront especially the packaging which is designed for single-use and leads to packaging waste. Regulators have now started taking firm stands for sustainability and this has forced retailers and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods companies to make commitments for improving the packaging by including sustainability.
This packaging converter will have a significant impact on the value chain of many industries so much so that their survival will be threatened. However, it needs to be noted that with innovation capabilities and the right focus, new opportunities can also be created. With the focus on sustainability, it is important to revamp the packaging before delivering the parcel to the customers through courier services like YunExpress and embrace sustainability.
Packaging Waste in Landfills and Oceans
Over the past many years, the global packaging industry has seen many changes and growth due to the awareness created by different national and international boundaries. Headlines highlighting how plastics are creating a heavy burden on the environment in addition to generating packaging waste has forced many companies to think beyond the economic boom in China and other regions who mostly are now focusing on eCommerce business that requires one to deliver packages through ePacket. However, the changing scenario now demands the use of sustainable packaging instead of single-use packaging materials.
The Unsolved Challenges
The first challenge that management of packaging waste faces is that of packaging recyclability. Most of the packaging materials which are produced are not supported by the current recycling systems. This issue especially holds true for multi-material packaging. This is one first of the major significant unresolved issues of unsustainable packaging material. The second unsolved challenge includes packaging recycling and leakage. Even though recycling rates for plastic packaging is low for developed countries like the United States and Europe, the same cannot be said to hold true for the developing nations.
One particular problem that different countries of Asia are facing is that the packaging demand growth is outpacing the global growth rates. The recycling systems in these countries are not present at the required scale making it difficult for the countries to recycle the huge amount of plastic generated. Even though most of the plastics can be used and recycled, approximately 65% of the plastic material is lost as resources when they go into either incineration or landfills. These issues are not getting unnoticed by the customers. The fact that ocean pollution has increased drastically has touched the sentiments of customers from across the globe making everyone more conscious about a sustainable lifestyle.
Government is Listening to Public Outcry
Governments of different countries like Australia, China, India, Canada, the European Union and the United States have implemented regulations to firstly minimize environmental waste and then secondly, by improving the waste management process. For instance, in India, legislation favours recyclable substrates and formats. Recent moves towards sustainability regulation by India include improving awareness campaigns about sustainability.
Even though FMCG has always focused on quick wins, this type is working towards the commitments on the packaging waste. For instance, almost all the top 100 FMCG companies have made commitments and then subsequent declarations towards sustainability. The focus on sustainability where these FMCGs are focusing on includes full recyclability, reduction of total plastic usage and finally bring changes in the packaging material and processes via promotion and innovation. Additional industry trends that are affecting the packaging industry include e-commerce, cost pressures, digitization and shifting consumer preferences. Even though this is simply the beginning of addressing the issue, it is expected that this problem will be tackled with more aggression by large companies.
The complexities which are involved in these processes include complicated trade-offs such as food waster, carbon footprint versus recyclability. Additionally, it needs to be considered that the sustainability footprint of different actions is different. Also, the entire strategizing process becomes highly complex when design changes or packaging materials are changed. It is expected that the new challenges of meeting the packaging changes will be met by the FMCG companies by collaborating with recyclers, upstream players and packaging converters. No matter what is chosen, building infrastructure is surely a must for increasing recycling in addition to improving the recovery capability. To meet the demands of consumers and the government’s innovation capacity needs to be improved and upscaled.