Balanced packaging: When less is worse than more

Last week, The Consumer Goods Forum released its report on “A Global Language for Packaging and Sustainability.” This common framework and measurement system for the supply chain is intended to help trading partners make more informed decisions about packaging and sustainability. Download the full report HERE. A group of about Earth Recycling84 stakeholders contributed to the project, including CPG manufacturers, retailers, packaging converters, trade associations, academics and consultants. It will next work on some pilot projects using the measurement system with the first results expected by November.

One thing that stood out: Less packaging is worse than too much. The report’s Innventia AB model showed that the environmental consequences of product loss caused by “excessive packaging reduction” are far greater than when guaranteeing adequate protection through using too much packaging. “The industry has a responsibility to review the packaging it uses and to ensure that any negative impact arising from its production or disposal is minimized,” the report says. “But this analysis of impacts must be done in the round. It must include the impact of product losses that may result from the use of too little packaging as well the impacts of using too much.”

My Thoughts: Your CPG customers are getting a lot of flak from environmentalists and the mainstream media when it comes to over-packaging. Being in the packaging-materials business makes you a target, too. Along with educating suppliers, customers, consumers and your employees on your company’s eco efforts, don’t neglect telling them about all the positives that packaging brings. Reduction in food waste; long-term product protection; availability of items from around the world, to name a few.

As The Consumer Goods Forum report states, “Finding the balance between under-packaging and over-packaging is the aim for all of our businesses.” I couldn’t agree more.

This entry was posted in flexible packaging, labels, paper/paperboard/cartons, sustainability and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Balanced packaging: When less is worse than more

  1. Emma G says:

    You’re right. It “is” all about finding the balance.

    I’m always amazed at how quickly we jump to go 110% into a major shift without necessarily weighing the cost vs. value equation from all sides. We need to remember to hold back and make those decisions in context with as much information as we can muster. Once we make those choices & implement the changes, educating the user & promoting the benefits are absolutely paramount.

    That mindset should be applied to everything we do – not just the packaging we design – actually, you inspired me to write a post on howlean & sustainable choices should be made in context. I just think this observation is more of a large-scale pattern stretching beyond packaging into manufacturing as a whole. Or any industry, for that matter.

    Thanks for a good post that makes you think 🙂

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