Now, more than ever, there is a race to establish alternatives to single-use packaging in the wake of new legislation and tax penalties.
“There are a number of reasons why well-intended corporate efforts to establish sustainable packaging are not progressing,” John Blake, senior director analyst, Gartner Supply Chain says. “For example, most kinds of plastics are not broadly recyclable, and even if they were – the recycling infrastructure and the aftermarket for recycled materials are far from mature. Therefore, the overwhelming amount of packaging today is not technically recyclable or is not widely recycled in practice.”
- Solutions include reusable packaging, in-store refill models and collaborative recycling efforts.
- During the transition period, companies have turned to smaller or more precise packaging, using recycled materials to offset virgin plastics, eliminating unnecessary packaging and piloting package take-back programs and refill models.
“This challenge can also be a driver of upstream innovation,” Blake adds. “Supply chain leaders can work with their peers to create a pipeline of new products and business models that don’t rely on plastics or single-use packaging. They should challenge their suppliers to commit to producing sustainable packaging material, therefore increasing the organization’s access to recycled or multi-use materials.”