-The Circular Economy.
According to projections, the global Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry will be valued at $14 trillion in 2025. If the packaging materials used to serve this demand pollute our planet in the same way our current packaging does, the damage will be irreparable. Humanity must take cognisance of the decisive role packaging can play in the war against climate change by ‘closing the loop’. There are several widely practised end-of-life streams for packaging to be safely returned to nature and perpetuate the circular economy. Instead of putting used packaging into landfills and dumping it into our oceans, humanity needs to create and use packaging that complies with the following vehicles: (we hope this information inspires you to create an impact)
The world produces over 2 billion tons of waste annually and the World Bank estimates this number to triple by the end of the century. Only about 13% of the current global waste is recycled and consumers need to play a more robust role in the success of the process. According to the same source, paper and cardboard (fibre-based) packaging constitute 17% of total annual global waste. Unless one puts a paper cup into the designated bin, it defeats the purpose, so please keep an eye out for the ‘recycle’ sign. Governments should also do more to educate their citizens about end-of-life in packaging and invest in scaling the recycling infrastructure at home, so we can stop shipping our rubbish to poorer nations in the developing world, immediately.
This end-of-life stream could be described as the most engaging of them all, with the ability to turn anyone into a nature-lover. Organic waste like uncooked fruits & vegetables, tea bags, waste paper, virgin cardboard and more can be widely composted and enable users of these items to play a crucial part in climate conservation. These are everyday items that are accessible without any extra effort and one can either compost at home or takel to the nearest industrial composting site. Only items that are made using natural ingredients or materials can be composted (sorry plastic!), so not all kinds of packaging are compatible with this vehicle. Compostable packaging wasn’t in vogue until sustainability became a global buzzword and we realised just how bad the world’s waste problem is.
With corporations on a mission to win the race to ‘net zero’, prioritizing sustainable packaging has become a no-brainer. Compostable packaging is full of benefits and fast becoming the established norm. User participation is a key element of this process because much like recycling, composting too requires waste segregation. However, seasoned composters say you only need to learn the basics once and it’s really fulfilling to do regularly. Composting merely accelerates the natural process of disintegration by creating suitable conditions like a certain level of humidity, oxygen, and more, at an ideal temperature. A 2021 survey found that 83% of the British public would have their food packed in compostable materials rather than plastic. Isn’t that fantastic?