How Covid-19 Has Triggered Sustainable Packaging

by Mark Stephens
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How Covid-19 Has Triggered Sustainable Packaging

Keeping up with the demand for sustainable packaging, some of the world’s largest brands have announced their intentions to evolve their packaging to the next level.

The Covid-19 menace have put countries on a standstill and disrupted almost every industry. The $900 billion packaging industry is among the many to be badly hit by the pandemic.

A demand for more sustainable packaging is on the rise since consumer shopping habits have been changing. Keeping up with the demand for sustainable packaging, some of the world’s largest brands have announced their intentions to evolve their packaging to the next level.  Walmart had announced its global ambition to achieve 100 percent recyclable packaging by 2025, much before the Covid induced pandemic. Coca-Cola, on the other hand, has been using recycled plastic from February to keep up with its sustainable packaging pledges.

Talking to “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal about packaging disruption, Matt Reynolds, editor of Packaging World said, “Yeah, well, a lot’s going on. I mean we’ve all had the experience of ordering one toothbrush that comes in a box that could hold 20 toothbrushes, and Amazon is working right now quite hard to address this. There is an acronym – sorry, this is industry lingo – but it’s called SIOC, and the acronym stands for ‘ships in their own container.’ The first splash actually happened before the pandemic, Procter & Gamble, that came out with Tide Eco-Box

The SIOC packaging model allows customers to use a product directly from the packaging without tearing through a multi-layered covering: Tide Eco-Box is a fine example.

Millennials and generation Z rank sustainability as one of the key factors while making their purchasing decisions. This generational move coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted companies around the world to devise sustainability programs which include eco-friendly packaging.

“We exist because customers buy our products,” said Lindsay McCormick, CEA & Founder, Bite. “I think with customers realizing that they do have the power to make these changes, it’s going to push the entire industry in a more sustainable direction.”

Jessica Trief, executive director of the New York-based Sterling Brands noted that the pandemic has led businesses to review the security of their supply chains.

“Companies must adapt to new production and distribution realities, forcing their businesses to become more sustainable in every sense of the word,” she said.

Covid-19 has taught a lot of things chief among which are safety and hygiene. Companies that can impress consumers with sustainable packaging while maintaining safety and hygiene will emerge victorious in the very near future.

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