A few weeks back I was at an industry event of an organization I’m pretty active in and I have to admit I never thought I’d get excited about things in the packaging industry during my days at the University of Wisconsin
, but its kinda cool as your career advances and you begin to identify with the challenges the industry faces. I wouldn’t say the challenges are necessarily that unique, but they have a twist of course that is created by the business we are involved in.
One of the topics that is undoubtedly hot today is sustainability and green initiatives. As an organization and industry we’ve been talking about these topics for a number of years. While it doesn’t seem to be as pervasive as it is in Europe, you can tell people are thinking about it. A couple years ago Method Products
mainstreamed the idea of providing liquid laundry detergent in 2x or 3x concentrate. Why? It cuts down on resource consumption. Why ship around extra plastic and water?
Seems pretty logical doesn’t it? Before too long all the major consumer packaged goods companies have followed Method’s lead. Well, there are always implications. Our conversation turned to recyclability and one of the things that changed when this concentrated formula hit the market was the recyclability of the containers. Turns out these containers are composed of two types of plastic – one for the spout and another for the container itself. As the container shrank, the proportion of these two plastics changed & the amount of the more valuable plastic to recyclers shrunk.
What have your experiences been with shrinking packages? Do the benefits outweigh the loss in value to recyclers? How have you been working to shrink the size of your package and reduce your carbon footprint?