As purchasing power in the U.S. grows steadily1 and brand loyalty remains critical to the success of manufacturers, companies that take action to minimize their environmental impact have a significant advantage in gaining the favor of consumers. Consider a recent global survey conducted by Nielsen, which found that over 50% of consumers ponder sustainability factors when purchasing a product. Many are even willing to pay more for these products. Leveraging the desire for more sustainable packaging can significantly help brands drive sales and consumer loyalty.
The latest Global Packaging Trends Report from PMMI also identified growing concerns around environmental impact as a key trend driving innovation in primary packaging. In response to these demands, industry professionals continue to explore new ways to reduce carbon footprint with new packaging materials and formats.
Recycled plastics and film
As the desire for eco-conscious packaging grows stronger, it is not surprising that environmentally friendly products are gaining popularity. According to PMMI’s 2015 Flexible Packaging Market Assessment, flexible plastic may remain the dominant pack type all over the world. The advantage of lightweight flexible packaging is its potential to aid source reduction efforts to reduce carbon footprint – and ultimately, associated costs.
Flexible packaging is not without its own sustainability challenges. While manufacturers benefit from minimizing materials use with flexible packaging, the format is less commonly recycled. However, there are initiatives to help with that challenge. Websites like Plastic Film Recycling – administered by Moore Recycling Associates, Inc. through support from the American Chemistry Council – work to educate the general public, municipalities and businesses on how to recycle postconsumer and post commercial polyethylene film that is found in nearly every business and household.
Save a tree
In a report by the Transparency Market Research, the global market for paper-based packaging was valued at $254.80 billion in 2012, and is predicted to reach $344.43 billion by 2019. There are a number of benefits associated with the use of paper-based packaging. First, paper is a far more recyclable material than any other available in the market and it is also a renewable resource. According to the American Forest & Paper Association, farmers will plant five trees for each tree harvested from the country’s managed tree farms. That amounts to planting 1.7 million trees every day, which appeals to environmentally conscious consumers.
PMMI’s Global Packaging Report identified metal beverage cans among top 10 packaging types. There are various benefits associated with the use of metal, including sustainability. It is 100% recyclable and loses no properties with time. Additional benefits include its availability in many different shapes and sizes, how it is stackable and easy to store, safe and versatile. According to the Aluminum Association, nearly 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today. Furthermore, it is one of the only materials in the consumer disposal stream valued for more than the cost of its own collection.2
PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, represents the voice of more than 700 North American manufacturers of equipment, components and materials for processing and packaging. We work to advance a variety of industries by connecting consumer goods companies with manufacturing solutions through the world class PACK EXPO portfolio of trade shows, leading trade media and a wide range of resources to empower our members. The PACK EXPO trade shows unite the world of processing and packaging to advance the industries they serve: PACK EXPO International, PACK EXPO Las Vegas, Pharma EXPO, PACK EXPO East, EXPO PACK México, EXPO PACK Guadalajara and ProFood Tech, launching in April 2017. PMMI Media Group connects manufacturers to the latest solutions, trends and innovations in processing and packaging year-round through brands including Packaging World, Automation World, Healthcare Packaging, Contract Packaging and Packaging + Processing OEM. PMMI Business Drivers assist members in pursuing operational excellence through workforce development initiatives, deliver actionable business intelligence on economic, market and industry trends to support members’ growth strategies, and actively connect the supply chain throughout the year.