No easy solution to the packaging sustainability challenge


Packaging companies are under massive pressure to improve sustainability by reducing packaging waste. Yet the desire of brands and consumers does not quite match what is currently feasible, according to the PMMI 2022 Shaping the Future of Packaging Operations. While reducing packaging size remains an easily achievable goal, enacting industry-wide change has always been the most difficult to achieve.

Top to Top Summit is an annual networking event for high-level CPGs and OEMs in the packaging and processing industry, who come together to discuss industry issues and solutions with the aim of improve industry results. Sponsored by PMMI, this year’s meeting was held in March 2022 in Florida.

A packaging company representative working for one of North America’s largest beverage producers summed it up by saying, “The technology is limited at this point. There are many great ideas on the market, but few have reached the point of being readily available or cost competitive.”

80% of CPGs claim efforts to minimize packaging and reduce waste.Packaging operators recognize that they are somewhat behind when it comes to sustainability and are aware of the need to catch up. However, real change in the industry will require technological breakthroughs and significant capital investments. One of the main hurdles is that durable packaging materials often have tighter tolerances than standard virgin or highly engineered materials. At least one respondent emphasized that OEMs need to work closely with developers of sustainable packaging materials to ensure these materials have adequate shelf life and can be handled by the machines currently on the market.

The drive for sustainability in the packaging industry presents new challenges for packaging machine manufacturers, with CPGs calling for new machine technologies that can respond quickly to ever-changing market demand, offer versatility in packaging format and size and to work effectively with a range of biodegradable products. packaging materials. And while minimizing material waste and reducing energy consumption during the packaging process.

Related to this is the idea of ​​developing packaging machine technologies that can reuse packaging. Several respondents identified the problem of reducing or recycling waste on packaging lines, which forces OEMs to improve the efficiency of machines in terms of material use. Currently, this waste ends up in landfills.

The last point in the sustainability category was energy consumption. CPGs and OEMs recognize that packaging companies can’t do much about soaring energy prices. But this creates intense market pressure to make the machines more efficient. Especially when ever-increasing government regulations add even more pressure on both sides of the table.

Source: PMMI Business Intelligence report 2022 Shaping the future of packaging operations

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