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Some of today’s biggest companies are beginning to take drastic actions to create more sustainable packaging. In fact, by 2024 the sustainable packaging market is estimated to be worth $400 million, a more than 7 percent increase from the valued $250 million of global demand for sustainable packaging in 2017. Due to the growing concern by consumers, recyclable, reusable, and biodegradable packaging are the main considerations for companies aiming to package more sustainably.
Some companies are simply eliminating unnecessary packaging as their first step toward sustainable packaging practices. Most companies are shipping 40 percent air, so to combat this, Best Buy has implemented a new machine that builds custom-sized, ready-to-ship boxes into some of its warehouses. At a speed of 15 boxes per minute, this machine cuts and folds cardboard around an item to reduce wasted space. Then the machine fastens the box with glue, instead of tape, to make the package easier to open for consumers. Since its launch, the machine has reportedly reduced waste by 40 percent by eliminating the unnecessary use of bubble wrap and extra padding.
Another notable company that is turning to sustainable packaging is ALDI. ALDI intends to reduce the amount of packaging used for its products, then plans to focus on its packaging materials. By the end of 2020, ALDI has a goal of sourcing all of their fiber-based packaging from certified, responsibly managed forests or from recycled content, while making their private-label product packaging easier for customers to reuse. In their dedication to making continuous packaging improvements, by 2025 ALDI plans to reduce their packaging by 15 percent and strives to make all of their ALDI-exclusive packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable.
One of the most familiar and most used consumer packaging materials is plastic, although plastic can have a long-lasting environmental impact. PepsiCo has realized their high use of plastic packaging, thus is trying to minimize their reliance on it. In 2018, PepsiCo released Drinkfinity, a customizable hydration system that uses flavored pods that pop into reusable vessels filled with water as an alternative to ready-to-drink beverages. These pods can reduce the plastic of a 20 oz bottle by 65 percent and when empty, can be mailed directly to a recycling facility to ensure proper recycling. To continue towards sustainability, in early 2019, PepsiCo acquired the SodaStream, a small appliance that allows one to customize tap water into flavored sparkling water or soda at home. One SodaStream can eliminate over 3,700 bottles and cans, making it an eco-friendly alternative to carbonated beverages.
Through partnerships, PepsiCo is becoming more innovative in improving their packaging practices. In a partnership with TerraCycle, PepsiCo announced their involvement with Loop, a company that delivers products in refillable containers, to show PepsiCo’s commitment to a circular model of packaging. Additionally, PepsiCo wants to make flexible films, packaging used to ensure sanitary and freshness of packaged snacks, recyclable or compostable. In an agreement with the biotechnology firm Danimer Scientific, PepsiCo aims to develop an eco-friendly biodegradable film resin to replace traditional snack packaging.
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Overall, more companies are realizing the importance of sustainable packaging for their products to lessen their effect on the environment. At Rocket Industrial, we strive to “omit needless things”, such as removing excess void and lessen unnecessary materials, to reduce our carbon footprint for a cleaner environment while reducing packaging costs. Contact our packaging engineers to see how your company can begin to Package With Less.