A concise overview of the rising innovation in the packaging films industry spurred by sustainable goals.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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A concise overview of the rising innovation in the packaging films industry spurred by sustainable goals.

No business would want to sell their product without packaging, and for that argument, no consumer would want to buy a product without it. Packaging has evolved from a factor that protects the product into a key one in improving its shelf appeal. This new dual-wielded power cemented packaging as an integral part of today’s world.

Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows as over the years the world experienced its undetected side-effect — packaging wastage.

The Two-sided Problem

The packaging industry, which was growing at a steady pace, faced two major problems due to over-reliance on single-use packaging materials. Wastage was the obvious culprit, as single-use packaging could be seen in heaps in landfills. Its sheer quantity coupled with the second problem escalated it to a global concern.

The second problem was its low recyclability. It takes a long time to degrade naturally, so people tried to counter the issue of recycling it. While it was a good idea on paper, not many of the packaging materials offered recyclability to the extent that would make a difference.

The packaging industry used this opportunity to innovate around sustainability to improve packaging & solve these problems.

Call for Sustainable Packaging Innovation

The UN 2030 agenda—“Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” is proof that sustainable packaging is the need of the hour. Brands & people alike are in favour of this movement as they grow environmentally conscious by the day. Many governments around the globe have also responded positively by implementing new regulations that promote sustainable packaging and practices.

We can broadly categorize sustainable packaging innovations into two parts:

Use of Sustainable Packaging Materials

Sustainable packaging materials are eco-friendly alternatives that are developed to have a low carbon footprint. The idea is to counter both major problems by providing a recyclable alternative while meeting the market criteria of cost & performance.

Options like plant-based biomaterials & BOPP-based packaging films are lightweight, durable and recyclable, thus giving multi-level solutions. These don’t use toxic chemicals in production and try to use fewer natural resources with minimal to no negative impact on the environment. Switching packaging materials contributes more towards the sustainability cause and hence, is a more viable solution. On top of the ecological win, its use has also seen an increase in customer base & brand loyalty.

Use of Sustainable Packaging Processes

Changing the way brands package has now presented an opportunity for a quick remedy. Top brands opted for practices like tweaking the supply chain to use less packaging material and dismantling the product to fit & ship in smaller boxes. Both practices effectively bring down packaging and shipping costs too. These new packaging strategies also focused on the best way to dispose of packaging to promote recyclability. However, they had to eventually look beyond these quick wins to get a more viable solution.

Sustainable Innovations for the Future

These factors (especially the former) have now become the core of all packaging innovations worldwide. Businesses have moved from the concept of flaunting sustainable choices as their selling point to including them as a central factor in the way they work. The fact that new packaging innovations like bio-plastics or dissolvable packaging are all sustainability-oriented substitutes backs this.

The top FMCG brands have declared bold commitments to propel sustainability forward in the coming years. This shift in packaging trend is a much-needed change & couldn’t have come at a better time for our planet.

Pankaj Poddar

Pankaj Poddar, Group CEO, Cosmo Films

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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