Why manufacturers can not take their foot of the pedal...
It’s hard to pull out positives from the experience of the pandemic but if we had to, it would be the impact it had on the climate consciousness of the world. Consumer reports
shared over the past two years all align in their description of an enthusiastic consumer who is now looking to live better, buy better and be better.
These consumers now expect brands to demonstrate the efforts they are making to shift to greener initiatives and eco-friendly packaging is one of those switches. Sustainable packaging is no longer an option, but rather an essential, and paper plays a significant role here.
Paper is one of the few truly renewable, recyclable and sustainable materials we have, and levels of paper and cardboard packaging recycling was reported at a record high of 85.8% across 28 countries of Europe pre-pandemic, so things are moving in the right direction. So much so, you could be excused for thinking that the paper and packaging industry could take its foot off the gas when it comes to introducing more sustainable innovations.
However, the truth is the industry must never take its foot off the pedal. Innovation has the power to continually drive changes in consumer packaging and we all have a role to play in helping brands to be better.
That isn’t to say the packaging industry isn’t already doing a great job, we are. We’re using materials that are lighter in weight to allow for greater shipping efficiency, we’re using new technology to help brands offer packaging made from easily recyclable materials – and we’re continually looking at new ways to innovate. The message is clear, we must never become complacent.
At James Cropper, we are seeing the demand for circular sustainable solutions becoming greater and one of the things we do in response to that, is continually look at the value that waste offers in packaging.
Five years ago we launched CupCycling, the world’s first recycling process dedicated to upcycling take-away coffee cups. CupCycling is a technology that extracts the plastic lining which previously made cups impossible to be recycled and transforms the remaining paper fibre into luxurious papers for packaging. There is something quite satisfying for a consumer to buy a greeting card and see the words ‘I used to be a coffee cup’ on it.
Our appetite for taking value from waste streams has since grown and we continue to strive for game-changing innovation. Most recently, in an industry first, we are now using plant waste to create coloured paper. Using dye derived from rosemary plant extract, which would have otherwise been wasted. It’s the first-time plant-based dyes have ever been used in modern papermaking. These dyes are more commonly used in the textile industry, but our latest development demonstrates the opportunities that plant-based dyes can offer in other applications
As an industry we are responsible for showcasing the realms of possibilities in packaging, showing brands how they can have it all - market leading environmental credentials without any compromise on technical performance. In my experience, I believe the innovative breakthroughs our business alone has shown in the last few years demonstrates just how much can be done.
Whether it’s used coffee cups, plant extracts, food waste or other pre and post-consumer waste, by repurposing these valuable streams we continue to support the transition to a more circular economy.
Looking to the future, we are investigating botanical dyes extracted from a wide variety of origins including plants, shells and fungi; and expect the range to expand significantly. The opportunities are exciting for our industry and we’re proud to be leading the charge once again.