Packaging doesn't always get the respect that it deserves. Although we engage with it every day - picking it up, opening it, using it and then throwing it away - its inherent disposability has meant that some cynics portray it as providing little of benefit while proving damaging for the environment. This bad rap (pardon the pun) has often placed packaging manufacturers on the defensive, making it harder for them to communicate about their products, although things have changed quickly in this last decade.
Packaging doesn’t always get the respect that it deserves. Although we engage with it every day – picking it up, opening it, using it and then throwing it away – its inherent disposability has meant that some cynics portray it as providing little of benefit while proving damaging for the environment. This bad rap (pardon the pun) has often placed packaging manufacturers on the defensive, making it harder for them to communicate about their products, although things have changed quickly in this last decade.
As brand owners seek to enhance their green credentials by ensuring that each step of the production and packaging line is as sustainable as possible, packaging manufacturers have been quick to highlight the environmental benefits provided by their packaging. Biodegradability, recyclability and sustainably sourced materials have all been brought to the fore by packaging suppliers. As the concept of sustainability has become firmly anchored in the public consciousness, the themes of efficiency and efficient packaging are now taking off, as packaging firms seek to further demonstrate and measure the benefits provided by their solutions.
By enabling the preservation of products for longer, by reducing risks of contamination, by making it easier to keep and consume products wherever the end user is, efficient packaging brings measurable benefits to our societies. These are sorely needed, as experts at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimated that as much as 40 percent of available food products spoils before reaching consumers’ mouths in developing countries and about 30 percent of food purchased in Europe is thrown away without being consumed, often due to passing best-before dates (Global Food Losses and Food Waste Report, 2011). As efficient new types of packaging with continue to emerge to extend product lives and protect product quality, fewer products should be wasted or thrown into landfills needlessly.
At the same time, efficient packaging initiatives have helped brand owners to greatly reduce the energy usage involved in producing, packaging and transporting their products. This has been achieved in a variety of ways, from upgrading old packaging machines to newer and more efficient models, using new technologies that can seal or wrap packaging at lower heats or with less energy, as well as light weighting existing packaging solutions to ensure they are easier and less energy-intensive to transport. Through combining these efforts with projects to reduce CO2emissions, packaging firms have even more facts supporting their contribution to making our society a little bit better.
For many firms, the key to successful communications is all about creating a dialogue with their audience. Packaging firms are now in a strong position to open that discussion with both consumers and brand owners, reminding them of the essential and efficient role that packaging plays in our modern society. Efficiently designed packaging plays a vital role in keeping us safe and healthy, while minimizing the impact on the environment of our consumer lifestyles and the packaging that goes along with them.
Alan Isacson is the CEO at ABI marketing public relations. You can reach him at +1 212 529 4755 and firstname.lastname@example.org.