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How Sustainability Affects Packaging and the Supply Chain
The sustainability movement is in full force. It’s touching every facet of the business world, and many organizations have had to make adjustments.
Packaging is especially susceptible to this, as it involves a lot of materials that can harm the environment. As more and more eco-conscious consumers are making purchasing decisions with these practices in mind, the industry is trying to find alternatives. This, in turn, affects the entire supply chain.
So, here are some trends and changes the packaging industry is moving toward in order to become more sustainable.
While using recyclable materials in packaging is extremely popular, using recycled materials is not. It comes to the fact that high-quality recycled plastic is hard to come by. There’s also a concern about the safety of recycled plastic when used for food and beverage products.
Public awareness on this issue is rising, and demand for products containing high-quality recycled plastic will follow suit. Soon, single-use plastics will be unacceptable to consumers and any company that has fallen behind on this issue will have a hurdle to jump through.
Therefore, alternatives are starting to enter the market in a big way.
Plastic-free materials are slowly being used to replace single-use plastic. Some alternatives are glass or metal, but those tend to be on the expensive end. While some consumers are willing to pay a little more for these options, that demand is not yet strong enough for some businesses to justify the price increase these materials warrant.
While some plant-based plastics fall into this category, other biodegradable or reusable alternatives are more desirable. Paper has replaced plastic straws and food trays, for example. We also see hemp wrap, mushroom Styrofoam, and more on the market.
There is even an effort to develop edible food packaging. This brings us into zero-waste territory.
Using packaging that has a purpose is a trend that we expect to stay around. People simply feel better about their purchase when there’s nothing to throw in the trash. It leaves less of a carbon footprint, and they feel that their money is well spent.
Besides edible options, materials that double as other products are great solutions. For example, washcloths are being used as packaging for soap.
Though finding these solutions can be tough, they are worthwhile morally and monetarily. And while the supply chain will have to adjust, getting ahead of these trends will pay dividends in the future.