There’s More to Sustainable Packaging Than Meets the Eye
By: Berlin Packaging Specialist
Date: October 4, 2021
Today’s consumers care about sustainability more than ever, and they expect the brands they support to care as well. According to a Nielsen study, 81% of respondents believe companies are responsible for helping improve the environment — this can include using responsibly sourced ingredients, incorporating eco-friendly manufacturing processes, and, of course, finding sustainable packaging solutions. But when it comes to sustainable packaging, it’s not as simple as just using recyclable materials. A lot more goes into the sustainability equation.
Recycling is a complicated process that requires consumer engagement, materials that can be recycled at a commercial scale, a collection system that can handle most of the recyclable materials, reprocessing of the sorted materials into a form for manufacturing feedstock, and an end-market that will purchase and utilize the recycled materials.
Add in consumer confusion about which types of packaging can and can’t be recycled, along with misleading claims and labels, and the result is much unnecessary waste. According to the EPA, almost 70% of plastic packaging and container waste ended up in the landfill in 2018, along with 55% of glass containers, 52% of aluminum packaging, and 21% of steel.
So using recyclable materials is often not enough to create truly sustainable packaging. For example, while a paper cup may seem eco-friendly, less than 20% of U.S. households have access to a recycling program that can process it, making it less sustainable than many would think.
Studio One Eleven, Berlin Packaging’s in-house design and innovation division, takes a more thorough and holistic look at packaging sustainability to ensure solutions that meet both a company’s sustainability goals and consumer expectations.
Their Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) technique quantifies a product’s environmental impact over its entire life cycle, including sourcing / raw materials extraction, manufacturing, distribution, and end-of-life.
Several factors beyond material are considered through the LCA process — this can include pack weight, distance traveled, amount of water and other resources used, and more. Here is an example of the Life Cycle Analysis tool in action.
Being honest and transparent in your brand’s sustainability messaging is key to driving consumer trust and loyalty. Ensuring that your packaging claims are accurate and truthful is of the utmost importance — and the sustainability experts at Berlin Packaging and Studio One Eleven are here to help.
3,737,769 kg Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction
Gallons of Crude Oil Saved
Passenger Vehicles Taken Off the Road
Fewer Passenger Car KM Driven
Fewer Liters of Gasoline Consumed
Fewer Daily Showers
Tree Seedlings Grown for 10 Years
Acres of Forest Preserved
Liters of Water Saved