Over the past few decades, it has become a well-known fact that the packaging industry has had a huge impact on the environment. With each passing year, tons of plastic waste from packaging containers and bags end up in landfills and the ocean, at increasingly alarming rates.
Marine life is under threat, greenhouse gasses are seeping into the atmosphere, cities face the menace of scattered litter, and drains along with sewer systems are being clogged by plastic bags. Due to these issues, the need for recycling waste packaging instead of producing more of it has become a serious cause for concern.
While recycling programs are still continuing success stories, we still have a long way to go. The future of recycling and packaging industries looks promising as governments and other stakeholders across the consumer supply chain continue to work together. As far as sustainable packaging and recycling is concerned, the following are some of the outcomes to expect from the zero waste strategies being implemented in different nations today.
Smart Policies around Packaging and Pollution Control will become Indispensable
Some nations have already started to lead by example, by implementing smart recycling laws. A case in point is the bottle bill US state law that requires manufacturers to pay a deposit for beverages sold in recyclable cans and bottles. The deposit is refunded to manufacturers who return these beverage containers for recycling, thus encouraging the perception of viewing waste as a resource.
Passing laws such as the bottle bill is the best way to make manufactures environmentally responsible. And as more policy makers come to terms with this fact, in the near future, almost every nation across the globe will have laws and regulations in place to govern waste management in the packaging industry.
Manufacturers Will Turn to Biodegradable Packaging
Advancements in technology are already making it possible to use eco-friendly packaging materials instead of ‘non-green’ ones. For instance, the sustainable packaging market has made it possible for manufacturers to use ‘green’ packaging materials like glass, cardboard and plastic created from starch.
With an increasing awareness about the environmental impact of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic, a growing number of manufacturers are likely to start investing in biodegradable packaging in the years to come.
More Third Party Companies will Commercialize Recycling Programs
Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is a concept that was founded in 1995 to shift the responsibility of waste management from the government to the private industry. It is now widely accepted in many countries across Europe, and other countries are expected to follow suit. EPR is encouraging more packaging companies to delegate their recycling responsibility to third parties called Producer Responsibility Organizations.
The aim of this is to relieve commercial enterprises and industrial companies of their individual responsibility to recycle waste. This trend is bound to pick up in the future and it is expected to commercialize recycling programs on a larger scale, all over the world.
There are many other influences that are driving significant changes in the packaging and recycling industries. The possible outcomes mentioned above, however, are being fueled by current trends that indicate what is to become of the future of recycling and packaging industry, which is in fact an area of immense interest and importance for every industry!