In 2010, 27% of products at major US retailers are estimated to have sustainable packaging. By 2015, this figure is projected to reach 37%.
Despite a global recession, escalating environmental pressures from consumers, the media, and legislators have put pressure on manufacturers to emphasize innovation in design, choice of materials, processing, and life cycle logistics. In fact, green packaging is the only sector of packaging that has continued to show growth. This evidence tells us that the future of packaging is in sustainability.
Environmentally conscious decisions now must revolutionize packaging design and drive the bottom-line of companies. Consumers are becoming increasingly educated on what sustainability is to the extent that they can, and will, call out companies for greenwashing (deceptive use of green marketing in order to promote a misleading perception that a company’s policies or products are environmentally friendly).
Walmart continues to be on the forefront of sustainable packaging in the retail arena. Although the retail giant has achieved many of its environmental goals such as plastic bag reduction, it continues to be unable to eliminate PVC from private-label packaging. As sustainable packaging evolves, Walmart will continue to strive in achieving its PVC elimination goals.
Many other large companies are following suit including Proctor & Gamble. Very recently, they announced plans to use sugarcane-derived plastic on selected packaging for its Pantene Pro-V, Covergirl and Max Factor brands to increase its sustainability credentials. The strategy by P&G is completely consumer-driven. Their research shows that women around the world want to make themselves more beautiful without making their environment less beautiful.
Amazon and Mattel team up to implement their own green packaging innovation. Dubbing it Frustration Free Packaging (FFP), its intention is to stray away from plastic packaging that is difficult to open. Especially in regards to toy packaging, Mattel found that consumers were livid about the complexity of opening up toys from their plastic and twist-tie inundated mess. Frustration Free Packaging is recyclable and is designed to be opened without the use of a box cutter or knife and will protect your product just as well as traditional packaging.
The key to all of this is that consumer feedback from companies like these has been extremely positive. If customer’s are pleased and recognizing sustainable packaging efforts, the demand will continue to increase just as experts suspect that it will.