The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), a global non-profit organization that aims to create more sustainable consumer products, released the THESIS Industry Insights: Packaging report using data from TSC’s The Sustainability Insight System (THESIS). The report is the first in an ongoing series aimed at using THESIS’ data set to raise awareness of key challenges and opportunities in creating more sustainable products. THESIS data highlights two key ways that companies are creating more sustainable product packaging: designing out packaging waste and choosing more materials and formats that are recyclable.
Packaging is an essential element in most consumer products. It protects the product and provides a platform for information and marketing to reach the consumer. The report finds when assessing environmental hotspots within a product’s life cycle, packaging is more likely to be relevant than not. For example, most food and beverage products contain packaging. In the U.S. however, most packaging end up in landfills, even when it is recyclable. Because of this, consumer goods companies are increasingly adopting new packaging designs to be more sustainable.
TSC’s THESIS defines sustainable packaging as packaging that which has recycled content or contains sustainably sourced materials and that can be reused or recycled after use. For example, in 2019, the manufacturers of soft drinks had as a sector 34% post-consumer recycled content and 17% sustainably sourced content. Soft drinks come in a variety of materials including plastic, metal and glass. Conversely, dessert and pastry products, which use plastic and paper primarily as packaging, have on average the same amount of recycled content (32%) as soft drink packaging, but contains more sustainably sourced material (30%) because of its paper content. THESIS data also showed an increasing number of brands communicating to consumers about sustainability attributes on-package.
Jessica Ginger, TSC’s senior director, TSC Impact, says, "Companies are working hard to create a visionary world where we all benefit from consumer goods without creating harm to people or the planet. Our THESIS Industry Insights will help companies target their time and resource investments by understanding how their industry is progressing and where the challenges remain."
The data from this industry insights report represents 36 product manufacturers. TSC says it will be releasing similar reports throughout the year.
Visit www.sustainabilityconsortium.org to download the free report.