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Product Design
Published: 3 Aug 2017

Tackling Plastic: Sustainable Packaging Solutions

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As highlighted in Packaging Futures 2017/18, consumers increasingly expect brands to push sustainable messaging and credentials through their packaging. Plastic is a particular concern, with several brands looking for new ways to make use of this practical, yet potentially damaging material. 

  • Recycling Ocean Waste: Ethical cosmetics company Lush, which already uses post-consumer recycled plastic for much of its packaging, is stepping up its efforts with the introduction of ocean plastic, too. Working in partnership with Canadian organisation The Ocean Legacy Foundation, the British brand is aiming to recover 27 tons of garbage and debris from the ocean surrounding Vancouver, British Columbia. Usable material will then be made into plastic pellets and mixed with other post-consumer waste to create product packaging.

  • Less Air = Less Plastic: British retailer Marks & Spencer has redesigned the packaging of more than 140 snacks to cut the amount of plastic used by reducing the amount of air inside each packet. For example, popcorn packaging will be reduced by 37%. Dubbed ‘Project Thin Air’, the initiative will save 75 tons of packaging each year, and also includes the introduction of thinner, yet stronger plastic films for crisp packets.

  • Consumer Choice: Concerned by the amount of single-use plastic being wasted every day, UK grassroots organisation A Plastic Planet is campaigning for a plastic-free supermarket aisle. The group suggests this would give consumers better access to sustainable packaging alternatives, such as aluminium or plant-based materials, enabling them to shop according to their principles.

For more insight into the shifting role of plastic, see Rethinking Plastics: Circular Consumption.

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