With the widespread adoption of online shopping, further accelerated by the pandemic, the packaging industry saw immense growth. At the same time, awareness about sustainable packaging and efforts to build alternatives to plastic has also seen growth.
Why do we need sustainable packaging?
There were two critical concerns about the management of packaging waste. Firstly, the recyclability. The majority of packaging waste was not recyclable. And secondly, it is the low recovery rate. Most of the plastic packaging which could be recycled ended in unmanaged dumps due to a poor waste collection system. To tackle these issues, businesses decided to come up with sustainable packaging solutions.
Why is sustainable packaging growing so fast?
Sustainable packaging refers to any packaging which reduces the carbon footprint of the lifecycle of the material. Two factors that have accelerated the growth are consumer awareness and government regulations. Consumers have become more sensitive towards the environmental issues caused specifically by single-use plastic. Their purchase preferences have changed, they are more welcoming towards products having sustainable packaging options. The government has also banned the production, import, stocking, distribution, and sale of single-use plastic with effect from January 2022.
How have brands adopted sustainable packaging?
Many companies have come up with sustainable packaging solutions in recent days. Flipkart has eliminated all single-use plastic packaging. Many other FMCGs have vouched to do the same by 2025. Companies like Hindustan Unilever and P&G have developed paper bottles to package their liquid detergents and soon plan to launch them in the market. Replacing plastic trays with paper pulp trays for packaging and cloth bags are amongst other initiatives by brands.
While the packaging industry is turning towards paper, the paper industry has also worked towards making itself even more sustainable. In terms of sourcing, the paper industry is exploring different materials for manufacturing paper such as hemp, agricultural waste, and recycled paper. When it comes to processing, they have been recycling water and internally generating electricity via renewable resources. In the present day, automation is aiding them further in saving energy, water and reducing energy emissions. HABER has been one such facilitator, which not only makes the processes sustainable but also efficient.
Thus it can be seen that sustainable packaging has taken the center stage. Research and development towards eco-friendly packaging is the focus right now. We can soon see innovative packaging solutions coming up, which would transform the industry.