Today came the news the state of Massachusetts is getting tough on the use of plastic packaging. The Environment and Energy Leader website’s article says, “Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey said this week she will sign an executive order prohibiting state agencies from buying single-use plastic bottles. Massachusetts is expected to be the first state in the country to achieve a law-enforced ban on purchasing plastic bottles. In recent years, legislators have attempted to make similar bans without success. Healey made the announcement on Sept. 18, 2023, at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City before a panel on ocean conservation practices.”
The article and the news reminded me of an August 2023 article from Duomedia blog entitled Why Paper is Sending Plastic Packing. This article talks about how some major food and beverage manufacturers have decided the world is a better place with less plastic floating around.
Unilever’s pledge to become the first major consumer goods company to commit to reducing plastic across its portfolio has led to numerous developments including recyclable paper based ice cream tubs and Pot Noodle containers.
Heineken UK created Green Grip, a plastic free and recyclable cardboard topper for multipacks aimed at eliminating all consumer facing secondary plastic from packaged beers and ciders.
Nestle switched all the packaging globally for its Smarties range to recyclable paper as part of its commitment to making 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. KitKat is now trialing the approach.
Why paper is sending plastic packing
Thanks to Naja Bertolt Jensen on Unsplash for making it possible to use a photograph in this post.
Remanufacturing is a key contributor to the circular economy. It prolongs the life and value of a product by recovering and reusing materials from retired products. While circular practices such as recycling programmes (hardware and consumables) and the use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) material are well established in the print industry, the remanufacturing of products is less widely adopted. With sustainability climbing the agenda, and supply chain disruption ongoing, should print manufacturers advance their remanufacturing strategies?
Print and imaging devices have various environmental impacts during manufacture, use, and disposal. These include raw material consumption; polluting in manufacturing; energy consumption in use; and waste generated during end-of-life disposal. However, through a mix of proactivity and response to regulations such as the WEEE Directive, the print industry has worked to embed sustainability principles. For companies at the vanguard of these efforts, this is paying dividends, as buyers become more scrupulous about the lifecycle impacts of the products they purchase.
Circularity in the Print Industry
A circular economy is an alternative to the traditional linear economy model of take-make-dispose. Circular practices reduce resource and energy use by extending the lifetime of products, components and materials. This keeps resources in use for as long as possible, extracting maximum value from them whilst in use, and then recovering or regenerating products and materials from them at the end of life.
Circularity is already well established in the print industry. Products are often designed to reduce environmental impact across their product lifecycle. Key elements include energy efficiency, reliability, repairability and recyclability. Recycling programmes for both hardware and consumables are widespread and in some cases recycling services enable print manufacturers to incorporate components and materials into new products.
Print manufacturers are also increasing the use of recovered materials, such as recycled and recyclable content into new products. For instance, according to HP’s Sustainable Impact 2021 report, HP’s goal is to use 30% post consumer recycled (PCR) content plastic across HP’s personal systems and print product portfolio by 2025. Meanwhile, Lexmark report that their goal is to increase the average post-consumer recycled content plastic in their printer models to 50% by 2025. In FY 21, Epson report that the company began sales of products that contain recycled materials and refurbished equipment.
Click here to read the rest of this article on the Quocirca site.