The nature of the FMCG sector makes packaging an integral part of a product in today’s developed world. The demand for sustainable packaging solutions is becoming a fact of life. With the recent environmental concerns regarding waste creation, management, reduction, and energy usage, the FMCG sector has been put under immense pressure from both the government and consumers and the recent economic crisis. It is imperative to say that FMCG Companies that fail to address the issue as part of their commercial strategy actively will forego opportunities and eventually lose business to their forward-thinking competitors
Creating a more functional infrastructure is vital in solving the issues related to sustainable packaging. Therefore, regarding sustainable packaging, these two key aspects must be attended to; the challenges facing sustainable packaging and the benefits of sustainable packaging to the FMCG sector.
Many FMCG, in partnership with their packaging companies, have further gone past the conventional 3Rs- Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse approach to further sustainable packaging. While reducing the size of packaging remains an easily achievable objective, instituting industry-wide change has always been the more challenging to achieve. They have gone further to extend the process to include;
Minimizing packaging to reduce the size
Using packaging materials that can be remade into new products
Packaging designed to be returned to multiple users
Redesigning packaging using sustainable materials to replace non-recyclable materials
Choosing packaging materials from resources that can be renewed for a circular economy.
What are some of the latest innovations in sustainable packaging technology?
In response to adapting sustainable packaging, many companies are investing in innovative sustainable packaging technologies. Some of the latest innovations include:
- Recyclable and compostable packaging materials: More and more companies are using recyclable and compostable packaging materials, such as paperboard and plant-based plastics. These materials are environmentally friendly and help to reduce waste.
- Intelligent packaging: Intelligent packaging is a new technology that utilizes sensors and other intelligent features to track the condition of food and other products during transportation and storage. This helps reduce food waste and ensures that products arrive at their destination in perfect condition.
- Sustainable printing methods: Traditional printing methods can be harmful to the environment. Some companies are now using sustainable printing methods, such as digital printing, which use less energy and generates less waste.
- Green shipping: Many companies are now using green shipping methods, such as rail transport, which emit less carbon dioxide than air or road transport. This helps to reduce the environmental impact of the supply chain.
- Synthetic Materials: Companies are concentrating on improving process efficiency to reduce the density of synthetic materials, use less raw material, and improve the recovery and reusing of materials.
- Bio-Derived Materials: Companies conducting research and development in this field are pursuing methods to enhance the barriers, durability, processing ability, and material quality of bioplastics.
What is the best sustainable packaging design?
There is no compulsory packaging design across every industry in the FMCG sector. However, it is recommended that the best packaging design makes the most sense for your business. Furthermore, for a packaging design to be sustainable, it must have the least negative impact on the environment. Every FMCG firm can achieve a sustainable packaging design in the following ways.
- Using 100% recycled eco-friendly materials
- Minimizing the carbon footprint of the production processes
- Creating reusable packaging and extending the lifecycle and usability
It is important to note that sustainable packaging must not be attained at once but can be attained over time.
Sustainable packaging demand is no more a threat to the packaging industry than fluctuating raw material costs, overcapacity in the industry, and price sensitivity among consumers. FMCG firms that fail to incorporate this technique into their commercial strategy will miss out on opportunities to lose business to their more innovative competitors.