The Year in Sustainable Packaging: Where We’ve Been and What We’ve Learned in 2017

As another year draws to a close, it’s worthwhile to take a look back and think about what’s been happening in the world of packaging since the beginning of 2017. In many ways, this has been a continuation of what we saw in 2016, and our Flexible Packaging Trends For 2017 blog post proved to be an accurate prediction of what would be happening in the industry this year.

However, when we’re looking specifically at how the sustainable packaging movement has developed, we have a lot to learn from 2017. The push for sustainability and eco-friendly packaging designs has taken the industry by storm. In the last few years, it’s moved from a fringe concern of a small minority of consumers to one of the fastest growing areas of packaging design.

Growing Demand for Sustainable Packaging

As consumers have become more and more aware of environmental issues, having “green” options is increasingly important. This is even more true when it comes to packaging than when it comes to other consumer issues, simply because wasteful plastic packaging has become infamous as the source of environmental disasters like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Accordingly, the demand for products with recyclable or biodegradable packaging is skyrocketing. Based on growth in 2016 and 2017, experts are forecasting that the market for recyclable, reusable, or biodegradable packaging will reach $274.14 billion by 2020, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) projected to be over 5% for the next five years.

Sustainable Packaging is a Top Priority for Consumers

Those stats show us that brands have gotten the message that sustainable practices are important, but does this translate to consumer desire? The answer is yes, in a big way. Over 20% of consumers are now listing sustainable packaging as one of their top priorities when making purchasing decisions.

Consumers have shown that they’re willing to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to making environmentally responsible decisions. Brands that have yet to get on board with sustainable packaging options like SmartPack™ and SmartPack-BDG™ are risking the displeasure of consumers.

The Rise of Sustainable Single-Serve Packaging

As we saw at PACK EXPO 2017 this year, there has been a big movement towards producing single-serving packaging to accommodate consumers’ increasingly busy lifestyles. However, if these single-serve products aren’t packaged responsibly, that could create some major environmental issues.

After the environmental backlash that Keurig suffered, most brands have caught on to the fact that if they’re going to offer single-serving packaging, they need to do everything they can to make sure that packaging is generating as little waste as possible. Generally, this means single-serving packaging designed from the ground up to be sustainable, giving consumers the best of both worlds—they can now enjoy the convenience of single-serving while easing their consciences by knowing they’re purchasing premium, sustainable products.

Emmerson Packaging is Committed to Sustainability

Of course, Emmerson Packaging has long been at the forefront of sustainable packaging initiatives. We’ve spent years developing environmentally friendly packaging products that still allow brands to put their best foot forward. We make it easy to choose the right package for your product.

If you’re ready to transition your brand to more sustainable packaging options, get in touch with our Project Central team. They’ll help you navigate the choices and select the best packaging options for your brand.



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