Environmental challenges in packaging
Societal and governmental pressures are encouraging more firms to adopt sustainable practices. Consumers are increasingly choosing fair trade and environmentally friendly products over lower cost alternatives. Packaging waste is an emotive subject, where overflowing landfills and non-degradable plastics provide a stark image of our environmental impact. In spite of this, it is not easy to dismiss the many positive aspects of packaging.
Innovation plays a key role in assuring that the benefits of packaging are maintained whilst the environmental impact is reduced. Benefits that must be considered and maintained include the protection of goods during transport, segregation into the required quantities at each stage of the supply chain and the differentiation of products on the supermarket shelf. Consumer safety is another key benefit, with labels providing essential safety information and tamper-evident features assuring product quality. Anti-theft features included in the packaging for many high-value items also protect retailers. If the economic benefits of packaging are to be maintained at the same time as contributing to a new, sustainable environment, the only path forward is to continually innovate and seek new ideas and approaches to packaging.
ITCM is well positioned to help customers realise valuable advances in sustainable packaging. We care about the environment and help customers to find new, ‘greener’ ways to package products. These challenges may include ‘doing more with less’, where packages are reused, recycled, or easily integrated back into the environment. We understand that truly sustainable packaging will not be achieved quickly, but through continual focus and action, major steps forward can be achieved.
Future innovations in packaging will occur at many points along the supply chain. For example, an alternative to packing mid-value products in ‘theft-proof’, difficult-to-open packaging could be to increase the use of RFID security tags, perhaps embedding these in the product during manufacture. Alternatively, retailers could further increase the size of ‘secure’ areas in-store in an effort to reduce material waste.
Applying lean principles to packaging may also support major steps forward; For example, more products could be delivered in re-usable bulk containers to supermarkets, with the consumer choosing the precise quantity required at the point of sale. Examples where this could be applied might include dry goods (flour, sugar, tea, spices etc), liquids (oils, sauces, vinegar and drinks) and personal care products such as shampoos and conditioners. This approach could remove the need for cartons, shrink-wraps and corrugated cases currently required to protect product during transit to the supermarket.
ITCM provides product and machinery solutions to support improvements along the way to green packaging.
ITCM has many case studies that cover a wide variety of different technologies and market sectors. Click below for details.
Get in touch with ITCM today:
tel. +44 (0)2476 421100