Packaging and sustainability

Sustainable packaging

In Part 2 of our Sustainability blog series, we’re looking at the hot topic of sustainable packaging. Whether you’re launching a new brand or you’ve been operating for years there’s no doubt that the use of plastic is a crucial conversation for food & drink brands, now more than ever.

Plastic in the headlines

Plastic packaging became a big topic of conversation in 2017. In particular the scale of the damage to our seas was highlighted in the BBC series Blue Planet 2.

News and entertainment site Lad Bible also launched a campaign to have the mountain of waste in the Pacific recognised as an official nation (a move that would mean world leaders would have a duty to help clear it up).

The UK Government’s recently revealed 25 Year Environment Plan includes goals such as ‘zero avoidable plastic waste by 2042’ and ‘significantly reducing and preventing marine plastic pollution’.


Eco-friendly packaging options

As a branding and design agency, we’re often involved in decisions on packaging for new products and are pleased to play a part in encouraging businesses to reconsider avoidable plastics. Recently, we’ve been working on a number of brands using Earthpouch by B&G.

It’s 100% plastic free, recyclable and compostable, yet still high performing and affordable. We’re really excited about their high quality printing too – opening environmentally friendly sustainable packaging options for so many brands.

And it’s not just the Earthpouch. More and more options are becoming available. At Packaging Innovations 2018 in Birmingham, over 100 new products were launched with sustainability at the top of the agenda, including Colpac’s Cookpack Hot Boxes and Compostable Ovenable Trays, Greenearth Food Packaging’s biodegradable wooden food trays, and James Cropper 3D Products’s Colourform – plastic-free packaging made from 100% renewable natural wood fibres.

Plastic bottles in the sea

Recycling the non-recyclable

For packaging that’s falling in to the non-recyclable waste category, companies like Terracycle are bringing innovative solutions, Eliminating the Idea of Waste® by recycling the “non-recyclable.”

They partner with individual collectors as well as major consumer product companies, retailers and manufacturers across 20 different countries to help divert millions of pounds of waste from landfills and incinerators each month.

If you are interested in creating a collection and recycling programme for non-recyclable products or packaging, TerraCycle has a variety of platform options. Typically, Terracycle collects post-consumer waste from your key target consumers, solves for the waste, and then works with your brand to drive equity and value.

Options like this are well worth considering for companies working with non-recyclable packaging like pouches and capsules, like Ella’s Kitchen. They’ve partnered with Terracycle to create EllaCycle, a free recycling programme for any brand of baby food pouches and Ella’s Kitchen’s snack wrappers.


The Sustainability Checklist for Packaging

Whilst there isn’t a ‘one strategy fits all’ approach when it comes to sustainable packaging, the FDF (the Food & Drink Federation) and INCPEN (the Industry Council for research on Packaging and the Environment) have jointly prepared:

‘Packaging for people, planet and profit – a sustainability checklist’.

The checklist is designed to help companies choose and optimise their packaging systems in order to continuously improve the sustainability of their value chains – and we’d recommend that anyone in the food and drink business should review it if you haven’t already.