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Plan for Your Package's End of Life!
Today we see packaging becoming more innovative, displaying unique designs and using newly developed materials. But do those driving innovations consider where that package is headed when it completes the consumer cycle? How do consumers look at packages recyclability when they look to purchase?
The good news is that brands today are becoming keenly aware of how their package impacts the recycle stream. However, with the ever-widening choices do they consider end of life before a design and material early in the process? Often due to market demands a package is designed, material chosen and on the shelf and THEN the question is asked… Can it be recycled?
Planning ahead and understanding how your product will impact the recycle stream can avoid issues when the product’s recyclability is questioned.
An initial material choice is important but do not forget any additives, label and even the closure. Tests have been developed and are used in the industry that will provide guidance on how a new innovation COULD impact the recycle stream.
Today’s most successful brands are evaluating their packages to follow sustainability guidelines developed for their own use or by their suppliers.
The Wal-Mart scorecard is an example of how the industry is now recognizing how packaging can impact the recycle stream. This data can alert the brand to potential issues and has a wide appeal raising consumer awareness of the benefits.
Improving the amount and quality of recycle material continues to be a challenge. Companies are now recognizing the importance of using sustainable materials and the public perception of recycling is very positive.
So, next time add to your plan an assessment of your package’s end of life use and reclamation. It will pay big benefits for a little time spent early in the process.