Plastic Packaging and the Environmental Plan
Details of the Governments 25 Year Environmental Plan are to be shared in the coming weeks. There’s no doubt that high profile issues surrounding marine pollution and the Paris Climate Agreement Targets have to be tackled.
Drastic measures are needed to encourage sustainable production and consumption, so we have to expect incentives and levies that force positive environmental change. For a start, it has been reported that The Environmental Audit Committee has called on the Government to “make producers financially responsible for the plastic packaging they produce”.
Changing Consumer Habits
The introduction of the 5p charge for single use carrier bags in 2016 resulted in a substantial decline in plastic bag issue. In the first year alone, 83% fewer bags (6 billion items of plastic) were used by shoppers. This may be a small step when you consider the scale of the plastics problem, yet it had the desired effect of changing consumer habits.
Consumers do have a responsibility to reduce waste and recycle, but the emphasis is shifting towards producers. What choice do consumers have, unless there are alternatives to plastic packaging when they shop?
Supermarkets, including the Coop and Iceland, have taken steps to switch plastic packaging with biodegradable and recyclable alternatives, including cardboard packaging. Other retailers are following suit and this will put pressure on producers to make the necessary changes.
Online retailers also need to rethink their packaging solutions. A large box stuffed with reams of bubble wrap simply isn’t acceptable. The cost of product specific packaging and non-plastic fillers isn’t prohibitive, so there is no excuse for not adopting alternative packaging materials.
Back to the Drawing Board for Producers
At the early design stages, consideration has to be given to the circular economy. Any new product should be designed with long lasting quality, low waste manufacturing, sustainable materials and opportunities for recycling in mind.
Expect consumer and retailer pressure to push sustainable packaging up the agenda for all manufacturers in the coming years.
If you are looking to switch from plastic packaging, Aylesbury Box Company can advise, design and manufacture cardboard packaging solutions, with biodegradable inserts as required. Let us help you to make the change before regulations and levies come into force.