Packaging is an integral part of our daily lives. And for brands, packaging can evoke an array of feelings in buyers that gives them a lasting memory of your brand.
Of the 400 million tons of plastic waste generated yearly, only nine per cent has been recycled to date. This has led to shoppers growing increasingly conscious of the brands they choose and their impact on the environment.
Brands are recognising this shift in consumer buying and companies have started to embrace the circular economy as an opportunity to drive growth and attract more consumers.
Growing consumer demand
Public awareness has increased significantly to an all-time high and consumers believe that brands have as much responsibility as governments to create positive environmental change.
Searches for sustainable goods have increased globally by 71 per cent since 2016 and consumers are willing to pay more for goods and services from sustainable companies. The need for sustainable packaging is more acute than ever – switching to green materials helps brands meet this consumer need.
Corporate social responsibility
Adopting sustainable packaging practices not only boosts a brand’s environmental and social impact but can help companies increase corporate social responsibility.
According to the UN, 36 per cent of all plastics produced are used in packaging, including single-use plastic products for food and beverage containers, approximately 85 per cent of which ends up in landfills.
Plastic waste – whether in a river, the ocean, or on land – can persist in the environment for centuries. Microplastics have been found in our lungs, livers, spleens, and kidneys. And a study recently detected microplastics in the placentas of newborn babies.
For brands making changes at a micro level, shifting to sustainable packaging can have a macro impact.
Governments, industry, and other stakeholders are starting to act. This year, representatives from UN member states began negotiations on a global treaty to end plastic pollution. The treaty will require countries to meet set pollution reduction targets. It will address the full lifecycle of plastic, including its production, design, and disposal.
Governments have responded to public concerns and are starting to implement regulations for minimising waste, so it’s only a matter of time before companies will have to phase out unsustainable packaging.
The Papyrus solution
Widespread usage of single-use packaging containers has resulted in a heavy burden on the environment. The properties that make plastics so useful – their durability and resistance to degradation – also make them nearly impossible for nature to completely break down. Additionally, 98 per cent of single-use plastic products are produced from fossil fuels.
Papyrus Australia has developed a 100 per cent sustainable, zero-waste, chemical-free process of converting banana agri-waste into products. These include biodegradable moulded food packaging (an alternative to plastic and forest-sourced products) and nutrient-dense liquid fertilisers.
With only 12% of a banana plant used, and the rest of the banana tree going to waste, banana plantations generate a large amount of agri-waste and greenhouse gases as the agri-waste decomposes.
Being able to convert this waste into sustainable packaging is a gamechanger.
• UNEP, ‘Our planet is chocking on plastic’, online – https://www.unep.org/interactives/beat-plastic-pollution/
• UNEP, ‘Historic day in the campaign to beat plastic pollution: Nations commit to develop a legally binding agreement’, online – https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/press-release/historic-day-campaign-beat-plastic-pollution-nations-commit-develop
• We Forum, ‘The global eco-wakening: how consumers are driving sustainability’, online – https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/05/eco-wakening-consumers-driving-sustainability/