Pack for the longer term

Disposable plastic bags, products and packaging have been the focus of sustainability in recent years. And it's no wonder.

In addition to the immense environmental damage that they can contribute to after use, they are also an easy problem to visualize. Consumers can see plastic piling up, whether it's thrown away or taking up space in the trash or recycling bins at home.

In addition, consumers are better educated about recycling and realizing that many items that they “carefully disposed of” through roadside recycling programs could not, or may not, be recycled.

Earlier this year, WWF-Australia worked with waste experts from Planet Ark, City of Sydney, Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Adaptation Environmental Support and the Australian Packaging Covenant Organization (APCO) to study the recyclability of packaging in 82 popular food products.

The investigation found that only 16 products were fully recyclable to the curb, 45 had some items to be taken to a collection point, and 21 were difficult to collect and recycle, with many examples of over-packaging and poor packaging design.

Fortunately, many FMCG brands are gaining traction in dealing with problem plastics by, for example, changing packaging, educating consumers, and investing in recycling programs.

H2coco recently joined APCO and is committed to managing the environmental impact of its packaging responsibly. All eligible containers are registered with the appropriate bottle and can recycling agencies for each state and territory, which rewards consumers for disposing of the packaging. H2coco has also been involved in numerous campaigns and initiatives that focus on reducing marine plastic.

H2coco recently introduced its first plastic-neutral product, H2Aloe.

"Packaging innovation is not developing fast enough to keep pace with consumer demand for convenient products that can be taken on the go," says Founder and CEO David Freeman. "It is up to us brand owners to challenge our manufacturers and suppliers to find alternative environmentally friendly options, and in the meantime to implement interim or short-term solutions that reduce our environmental impact while working towards a longer-term solution."

Read more about sustainable packaging activities in the October issue of Retail World.

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