The simple answer - it's the right thing to do.
That might sound biased coming from a packaging company but the benefits of employing sustainable packaging as the new normal for business are clear.
If you've just woken from a ten-year coma single-use plastics (SUPs hereafter) are wreaking havoc on communities and the environment. 9 million metric tonnes of them enter our oceans every year. Marine ecosystems are suffering irreparable damage and seafood lovers might even find it on their plate.
Given our addiction to the online world more of us are seeing the impact of SUP and demanding more action to mitigate them.
In late 2017/ 2018 the problem of single-use plastic went mainstream across the globe with the broadcast of BBC's Blue Planet II. Galvanizing the efforts of NGO's and consumer groups and igniting a prolific rise in awareness and media coverage of plastic waste and the damage it's causing to the environment.
All around the world Governments and State Governments are legislating to prohibit the sale, supply, and distribution of specific single-use plastics products. Businesses are also stepping up to the plate with short and long-term pledges to move better systems and materials.
The UK Plastic Pact - Ban on the manufacture of certain products containing plastic microbeads came into effect.
China - Bans the import of plastic waste from around the world. 8.88 million tons.
IKEA - Start phasing out single-use plastics in their products where suitable alternatives don’t exist.
ANZ - All supermarkets ban the sale of single-use carry bags. NZ followed in Jan 2019.
Adidas x Parley - Announce it intends to sell 5 million pairs of shoes made from ocean plastics.
Collins Dictionary - Makes “single-use” its word of the year. Describing the word as ‘items whose unchecked proliferation are blamed for damaging the environment and affecting the food chain’.
Carlsberg introduce Snap back - To make their multipacks more sustainable, introduced the new Snap Pack, which reduces plastic usage through innovative glue technology.
New Plastics Economy Global Commitment - 400 commercial and governmental organizations including leading brands such as Unilever, Mars, and Pepsico sign the commitment, which aims to ensure 100% of plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.
European Union - EU introduces the Green New Deal to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 resulting in a cleaner environment, more affordable energy, smarter transport, new jobs, and overall better quality of life.
California - Single-Use Plastic Ban goes into effect March 2020.
New York - Enforce Single-Use Plastic Ban started in October 2020.
China - Ban all single-use and non-degradable plastic bags in major Chinese cities. By 2022 the ban will roll out across the country. Ban to also include single-use straws by the end of 2020.
It would be remiss to not also talk about climate change as the plastics industry is inextricably linked to the fossil fuel industry and by association greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, 11,000 scientists from 153¹ countries1 emphatically stated we're facing a climate emergency. Two years on the IPCC Climate Change report² states we could be 10 years away from heating by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius - a threshold beyond which even more serious and frequent fires, droughts, floods, and cyclones are expected to wreak havoc on humanity.
Climate model simulations show how human factors have contributed to a rise in global surface temperatures
Today's consumers are smart, well informed, and more importantly recognize the relationship humans are having on the planet.
Sustainability-related searches worldwide were relatively steady up until 2016 when we saw interest start to build significantly. From that point onwards searches skyrocket from 2018 to Jan 2020. We also see the goal of zero waste³ grow in popularity. The data illustrates our quest for both knowledge and perhaps a better way to do things.
Research conducted by the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business reviewed consumer purchasing of sustainability-marketed products in 36 CPG categories comprising ~40% of the total CPG market (the CPG market was valued in 2020 USD $2 trillion). Their analysis revealed sustainability-marketed products are responsible for more than half of the growth in CPG brands from 2015 to 2019, and that this growth continues despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
As shown by Sustainability Market Share Index, there is an economy-wide trend towards sustainability. Clearly illustrating shoppers buying the change they want to see in the world.
THE MATERIAL MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
Switching to materials that reuse what is currently in circulation or that are derived from renewable resources helps to remove the strain we've placed on the planet. It also helps to drive important progress towards a circular economic system.
The benefits are clear:
The seismic shift in consumer demand for products that go beyond doing no harm to actually tackling our most pressing challenges will be the new normal.
How your business is perceived in making the world better than it was yesterday will be the new barometer.
Grounded Packaging are suppliers of sustainable packaging solutions.