Start a sustainable packaging journey (on)

A completely recyclable package requires responsible selection of raw materials, effective design, and assurance that it is safe within the validity period. Each package should meet market standards for performance and cost, be made entirely from renewable resources, and once used, be effectively recycled, and ultimately provide a valuable resource for our future generations. . Each package should be part of a cradle to cradle packaging system.

The scenario described above is ideal for the Renewable Packaging Association. Of course, the members of this association must first say that no company in the world has truly achieved a renewable cradle-to-cradle packaging. However, they believe that renewable packaging is a goal, a long-term goal, and renewable is also the only important development strategy. In this article, members of the association will also tell you that the packaging industry has started to move toward this goal.

John Delfausse, Vice President of Packaging Development at Aveda's Aveda Co., Ltd., said: “The efforts made toward renewable packaging have made me think it is very important. Although this is just a beginning, because every small improvement is It's very meaningful to move in the right direction. For those responsible for packaging, my advice is to start working towards renewable packaging as quickly as possible."

The company's support helps this process
Companies around the world are experiencing compliance problems. Customers require companies to carry out socially responsible behaviors, rising costs of energy, raw materials, and pollution control. In response to these pressures and changes, more and more companies have established sustainable development goals and are promoting the importance of sustainable development to employees, suppliers, customers and shareholders. This top-down requirement provides package decision makers with a good opportunity.

This does not mean that without the involvement of top management, sustainable development cannot be carried out. It just clearly shows that when a company's leadership goes in one direction, it creates an environment for packaging managers so that they can try new things and involve both internal and external partners.



The containers used by Unilever's Ben and Jerry's brand ice cream are made from biodegradable materials that do not contain chlorine.

"When your company focuses on environmental and social responsibility, it is easier to find a way to achieve sustainable development." Doug Marcero, director of health management and product services at MeadWestvaco, said.

Delfausse said: "In Estee Lauder, it is a top-down power that makes environmental protection the first thing to consider. In any case, the packaging manager will make it feasible. We have the opportunity to become leaders and we can unite. Companies in other fields come to our actions."

Scott Ballantine, Microsoft's packaging project manager, agrees with this view. He said: "Package decision makers are the ones who can first listen to the opinions of market, procurement, transportation, suppliers and retailers. We can, and I believe we should also Constantly raising awareness and applying the principles of sustainable development and environmental protection to our packaging in a leader's role.As a glue, packaging engineers can integrate different organizations into a unified task.We do It can be different."

Start with a small increase
No one would suggest that renewable packaging projects start with tens of thousands of inputs, using budgets like the Apollo Moon Project. On the contrary, it can be on a small scale, starting with a little bit of progress.

“The concept of cradle to cradle is very daunting for people who are just beginning to understand sustainable development,” said Anne Johnson, president of the Recyclable Packaging Association. “Everyone on the packaging supplier needs to understand It is important to understand that a small step in the right direction is better than not going one step at a time. It is important to understand that sustainable development is a framework that supports every small success."

Dr. George Kellie, director of technology consulting company Microflex Technologies, said, “Obviously, no company will give up all its existing products and packaging and immediately switch to completely renewable materials. This process is too challenging. "But Kellie also said that it is very important to remember what Laozi, a famous Chinese philosopher, said:" A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."




Glass is a good cradle to cradle packaging material

Renewable routes can start with benchmarking one or a series of packages. These packages often use non-renewable raw materials, energy, and water, and cause waste and air pollution, including the emission of gases that increase the greenhouse effect. . Packaging managers can then gradually use renewable or recyclable raw materials for these packages. At the same time, they can also formulate plans to reduce energy consumption, water pollution and air pollution, and increase the use of recycling, alternative use factors, or produce environmentally friendly waste. Benchmarks or metrics are very important, but packaging managers should not make this process too complicated.

MeadWestvaco's Marcero said: "Some metrics must focus on those things that make sense for the process."

"At least in the early stages of this process, the parameters you want to measure are as simple as possible," said Graham Houlder, Global Packaging Manager at Unilever Foods. "For example, is the target package's raw material renewable? If it's Is it non-renewable, is it recyclable? Begin to categorize raw materials as follows: renewable, recyclable, reusable, compostable, or safe to the environment after incineration. All of these are It is an acceptable post-use state. A similar basic classification can also be made for energy, water, and released gases. Your goal is to begin to reduce the signs of packaging left in the environment."

Kevin Stevens, vice president of global marketing for OI, USA, saw the cost savings from reducing packaging in the environment. "Sustainable development encourages manufacturers, suppliers and retailers of packaging products to adopt cleaner production practices and support responsible production activities," he said. "This will increase quality and profit, and it will also reduce costs."

Unilever’s Hulder believes that the steady progress can consolidate the momentum. “In six months or a year, packaging managers who measure with key parameters can demonstrate what they have done, even if the improvement is relatively small.” He said, “Positive stories can inspire and create There is a trend that can infect internal employees, as well as suppliers, retailers, customers, and shareholders."

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