Circular Economy of Packaging

The Ambalaj Contributor Sofia Erixson has been digging into the circular economy thinking, and deals with what it means to the world of packaging.

We need to rethink the concept of waste!

In the future we are all facing a growing population and increasing pressure on natural resources due to the ever-increasing demand for consumer goods. Therefore we need a more sustainable growth. This creates demands on businesses to use materials more efficiently and it requires major changes, new resource-efficient business models and an economy based on a sustainable society.

The answer is Circular Economy; the end goal of what used to be called closed loop recycling – genuinely enabling the renewal of existing resources, rather than continuing the need for new ones.

Packaging plays a positive role in a Circular Economy by optimising resource use, minimising product waste and protecting products through the value chains.

What will the future bring?

1. Sustainable online shopping
Online shopping increases every year. I think we need to create a more sustainable return policy of packaging material. A good example: RePack; Your returnable and reusable packaging. ”Simply return me and I will reward you.” Not only sustainable but also a smart way that also creates deeper customer relationships.

repack circular economy packaging

 

2. Food waste
Each year 1.3 billion tonnes of food, about a third of everything that is produced, is wasted. That means that 30% of the world’s agricultural land area is used to produce food that will be wasted. To reduce waste a Swedish company called Allwin take care of the leftovers from the food stores in Sweden and give it to people in need.

Allwin_960_12_080512

3. Sharing economy & Collaborative consumption
Sharing economy have become increasingly popular in the past couple of The power of the internet, together with social media exchange platforms are rapidly transforming industries by collaborative consumption. It has made it possible for people to rent and sell assets and transportation services through Uber and Airbnb, that were previously virtually unmarketable. Now you can also Airdine; make your home a restaurant, or book a transportation through Farwell; that match your request and at the same time decrease the empty space in the containers.

Airdine circular economy packaging

 

  1. Recycling 2.0
    Innovation in recycling technology is rapidly evolving and enabling production of high-quality products with great sustainability performance. For example, Starbucks is aiming to turn its waste coffee grounds and food into everyday products by using bacteria which can then be used in for an example bio-plastics and medicines.

starbucks-grounds circular economy packaging

To make Circular Economy a reality we need to work together. Policymakers and consumers play a central role. Most important to remember is that it is possible to rethink how we make and use things for sustainable business, we make this a reality together!