Corporate responsibility is a hot topic right now, especially pertaining to sustainability. Shifting towards sustainable packaging is essential when looking at sustainability in a holistic view. Many companies are shifting from traditional paper and plastic packaging to recycled and recyclable materials to help reduce the amount of packaging waste that ends up in landfills, or in our oceans. Current industry trends are heavily focused on using sustainable materials, which is shadowing the consumer demands for corporate environmental responsibility.
Responsibility within the industry
By 2020, the packaging industry is expected to hit a total value of $997 billion, meaning the industry has the power to implement positive change (Smithers Pira). Just because the industry has the power to make change, doesn’t necessarily mean that change will come naturally. In packaging, most of the end products are completely visible to consumers. Because of this, there is a push from consumers for corporations to commit to making improvements to sustainability. Smithers Pira contributes pressure for change to not only consumers, but also retailers, governments and other environmentally-conscious NGOs.
One interesting factor in this push is the presence of ‘branded litter’ or ‘branded trash’. This is when packaging materials that have a printed brand name or logo end up as litter, typically on the side of roads and highways or even in waterways. This can negatively impact brand equity, as consumers may form correlations between the litter and the brand plastered on that piece of litter. Because of this, companies big and small are switching to sustainable products. Notable companies making the commitment are Starbucks, McDonalds, and now Target.
Target has formed a goal to “source its own brand paper-based packaging from sustainably managed forests, eliminate expanded polystyrene from its brand packaging, add the How2Recycle label to its packaging, and create more demand for recycled packaging”. With stronger pushes towards sustainable materials from consumer facing retail corporations like Target, the packaging suppliers that are mostly behind the scenes will need to work to provide environmentally-friendly materials. The packaging industry and community has the power to implement positive change. Based on consumer and retail demands, these companies will need to source materials responsibly to keep brand equity, increase customer satisfaction, and to boost corporate responsibility.
Innovations in sustainable packaging
Packaging companies throughout the United States and the world are finding new ways to provide sustainable materials and product to their customers. There are endless opportunities to implement new innovations and technologies to create a more sustainable process. FlexPAC actively searches for ways to be more sustainable. Implementing even just small victories can help make big changes over time. Below are just a few of the products and services FlexPAC offers to add to the sustainability initiative.
This may be a surprise, but having an automated towel dispenser in bathrooms can help eliminate unnecessary waste. FlexPAC offers an automated towel dispenser to not only reduce visually un-appealing paper waste in restrooms, but also to discourage users from grabbing too many paper towels. FlexPAC has a great video explaining this, which you can find here.
Another activity to help reduce waste is by determining the correct can liner size for trash cans. A Midwest airport switched to the correct can liners with the help of FlexPAC and ended up saving 12,000 pounds of raw materials per year and eliminate 9.3 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. This is one example of how an easy change can have positive impacts. Read more from this case study here.
Corrugated fiberboard boxes are a great packaging material that FlexPAC provides to its customers. Corrugated fiberboard provide great protection while your goods travel to their destination. Plus, its renewable, recyclable, sustainable, and cost-efficient which is why it is the most popular choice for packaging. Implementing this type of recyclable material for packaging can be a simple switch to add into your sustainability pledge. Learn more about corrugated fiberboard here.