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What is Sustainable Packaging & How Green we are?

Sustainable packaging a definition:

  1. Is beneficial, safe and healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle;
  2. Meets market criteria for performance and cost;
  3. Is sourced, manufactured, transported and recycled using renewable energy;
  4. Maximizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials;
  5. Is manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices;
  6. Is made from materials healthy in all probable end-of-life scenarios;
  7. Is physically designed to optimize materials and energy; and
  8. Is effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial cradle-to-cradle cycles.

How green are we?

In the groundbreaking survey of nearly 2,000 packaging suppliers and brand owners, Packaging Digest reveals just how knowledgeable the market is about sustainability in packaging and what companies are doing to achieve this goal.

Eighty percent of the respondents to our recent sustainability survey say they are at least somewhat familiar with what sustainability is, and more than half are already achieving sustainability goals through a variety of measures, most often in the use of recyclable materials and lightweighted packaging, as well as reduced energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

sustainable packaging logo

Responses from materials suppliers/converters and equipment companies were virtually identical to those from brand owners and contract packagers, showing a very similar level of awareness and involvement. The only variances occurred between respondents who described themselves as "very" or "extremely" familiar with sustainability, as compared with those who claim to be "somewhat" or "not at all" familiar.

Packaging Digest's survey was sent electronically in early December, just a month after Wal-Mart announced its sustainability scorecard initiative. Corporate/general management and engineering/production each accounted for one-fifth of the respondents, while marketing, packaging design, purchasing and research and development each represented 10 to 13 percent. The remainder did not identify their job function

So how green are we? Thirty-two percent of survey respondents say they are either "very" or "extremely" familiar with the idea of sustainability (see the "tree chart" at right). Sixty-one percent believe that the emphasis on sustainable packaging has increased during the past year, while the remainder say it has stayed the same. However, that number changes for the "familiar" group previously identified—among them, 77 percent claim that the emphasis has increased.

Although Wal-Mart has made it abundantly clear that it considers sustainability to be a business economic issue, only 19 percent of our survey participants agree with that philosophy. Just a tad more than one-third of the respondents say they view sustainability as an environmental initiative; 46 percent claim that the economic and environmental importance weigh equally.

how familiar with you sustainable packaging

When making decisions about packaging%2st surveys because they tend to be ignored. Not here, ho Another person writes: "We are running near zero waste at our headquarters building, and we have several different ways of tracking it, which is done by our Sustainability Committee."

The survey also asked what tools or resources the respondents need to help reach their sustainability goals. "Credible definitions and expertise," writes one person, reflecting the sentiments of many. "What is now out there, I am highly skeptical of. There are lots of consultants out there, and extremely generic articles are being written and published which I wouldn't use for a Packaging 101 course."

how important sustaiable pkg

In addition, many of the people surveyed cited trade magazines as a good future means of disseminating credible information. At Packaging Digest, we're listening.!



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