Plastic waste is a big issue for the environment and consumers. The Guardian (1) reports that eight in 10 consumers are trying to reduce their plastic waste and over half are now willing to pay higher prices for eco-friendly packaging. Changes in attitude mean that over half of consumers will turn down single use plastics like drinks straws and plastic grocery bags, and plastic waste is equally concerning to the UK public as Brexit (2).
This all highlights the growing public awareness about plastic pollution. Therefore, as a responsible business, it makes sense to address this and respond to consumer concerns. Making informed choices about your packaging, including plastic use and waste, that are appropriate for your business can help you become more sustainable.
So, how can you reduce your plastic waste?
Switch to non-plastic alternatives
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of non-plastic packaging alternatives available. Making appropriate swaps can help you immediately lower the amount of plastic you’re using in your supply chain and therefore the resulting waste. Examples include:
- Paper cushioning and void fill vs. air cushions
- Mailing bags that are paper rather than plastic
- Paper bubble wrap
- Starch based loosefill
- Paper based tape
Swap to lighter or re-engineered plastic materials that weigh less or contain recycled content
Where it’s not possible to remove plastic entirely, you could consider re-engineered materials. Choosing plastics that contain high recycled content is another alternative. Using recycled content reduces waste going to landfill or being incinerated.
Some high performance stretch films and shrink films, like Cryovac® CT have been re-engineered with less material, so you’ll automatically be reducing the plastic you’re using.
Review your packing or material application processes
If you are using any sort of plastic packaging it’s good practice to review how it’s being used. This can help you identify opportunities for to reduce the amount of material used and waste produced.
Where manual processes are being utilised, material application can vary between packers. Some may use too much, some may use too little. Providing packing guidelines can help manage this. But, for more stringent control over packaging use, semi or fully automatic equipment is the way forward.
For example, using a water activated / gummed paper tape machine helped our customer reduce their tape use by 75% and removed plastic from their packing process entirely. Click for the full case study.
The impact of sustainable changes
Reducing the amount of plastic waste you’re creating will benefit the environment, but can offer other advantages too. Using lighter weight materials can help improve your transport costs and lower emissions and reviewing your processes could improve productivity too. You’ll also be supporting your CSR goals.
Ask us about how we can help you reduce your plastic packaging waste. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01902 496 666.