One of the first monthly columns that I wrote for Packaging Strategies was titled, “Recycling Needs a New Game Plan.”

In that column, I cited some concerns of the National Confectioners Association (NCA).

“The current recycling infrastructure is challenged by collection and sortation equipment that was not designed to handle present-day innovations in flexible packaging. There is a lack of end markets, and businesses and consumers are confused by a patchwork of regulatory regimes,” NCA said.

Similarly, consumer confusion surrounding eco-friendly packaging was cited in good natured’s recently released “Ready-to-Eat Report” regarding consumer demand for ready-to-eat meals, meal kits, takeout food and meal delivery.

Besides making me hungry, the report also offers some tantalizing data regarding consumer attitudes toward sustainable packaging.

Among consumers surveyed, 77% of respondents say that eco-friendly food packaging is important to them and that they usually look at a product’s packaging when shopping.

However, nearly half of respondents feel that it is a business’s responsibility to provide eco-friendly food packaging to help reduce the effects of climate change.

One banner conclusion of the report: “Confusion around how to be more eco-friendly could become America’s hottest climate issue.”

More consumer education around product disposal and end-of-life is needed, the report says, noting that nearly one in three respondents “have good intentions to dispose of or recycle their food packaging, but don’t know the proper procedures to do so.”

Also, 76% of respondents typically wash their food containers thoroughly, but only 33% believe they are recycling or disposing of them properly.

The report also notes that more and more Americans are getting eco-anxiety from social media.

“The impact of more wide-spread conversation and education is palpable: 53% of respondents say that they are influenced by social media to become more eco-friendly,” the report says.

The full report can be found here.

Bottom line: Nine months into 2023, there is still a lot of work to do as far as reducing consumer confusion surrounding eco-friendly packaging – and reducing unnecessary packaging “waste” going to landfills.

Brad Addington
Chief Editor, Packaging Strategies
(248) 227-4727