Balancing Convenience and Sustainability For the Future

When selecting a manner in which to prepare and present a product to the consumer, packagers rarely, if ever, rely on a single factor. Two major discussions in packaging right revolve around the extensive amount of waste and creating convenient packaging for consumers. While not in complete conflict, these two principles in packaging can at times seem to work against one another while often being two key factors considered when packaging products.

Anyone in packaging is probably aware of the concern regarding the amount of "plastic pollution" seen around the globe, with examples of waste being found in the oceans, seas and shores. Packagers are probably also aware of initiatives to reduce or ban plastic straws, bottles and more. However, these same packagers must look for solutions that satisfy a consuming public on the go that, more and more, it seems, push for single serve, single use products that are best served by the very plastic that is causing worldwide concern over pollution.

Companies around the world are working to ensure that both these factors are met, though finding that perfect solution is far from a simple task. Some packagers are working to redesign their packages, removing single use bottles and containers from the shelf. New matierals are being considered and produced to fight waste. Recycling efforts have been ramped up, to ensure more reuseable and recyclable material is actually reused or recycled. Entire processes, from shipping to packaging to delivery, are also being assessed to add sustainability throughout the packaging procedure. Still, the path to induce change and lead to the ideal answer is not yet clear as companies fight to provide safe, sustainable, convenient and cost-efficient packaging and products to consumers.

A change to one aspect of the packaging cycle can affect every other aspect. As packaging machine manufacturers, new and custom packaging may require new and custom solutions to automate filling, capping, labeling and other phases of preparing products. Producing new packages may require new and unique processes to make the package itself. While neither these nor other concerns stand as immovable obstacles in creating a more environmental friendly, safer and convenient future for packages and packaging, there is also no simple solution. The fact that the packaging industry as a whole seems focused on positive change, however, only heightens the prospect of cleaner, convenient and sustainable solution in the near future.