Currently, more than 8 million metric tons of plastics enter our oceans each year. This disrupts ecosystems, harms animals, and pollutes the water. So, as the harsh reality of plastic pollution continues to rise, we must move towards a solution globally. Recent promises from the UK government pledging to eliminate plastic waste by 2042 are a huge step forward. But what can we expect with such a gigantic undertaking?
It will take time. Because packaging affects development on every level, time scales of 18 months or longer are required to completely transition. “Changing a can to a pouch requires a completely new production line, as well as the need to prove that the quality of the shelf life, product, food safety and how it travels are not adversely affected,” Barrington Pamplin, a packaging technologist, tells Raconteur.
It must be done carefully. There are plenty of intricacies that come with transitioning to sustainable packaging. “It should be laid out clearly what materials can be recycled and what cannot to reduce investment risk,” Pamplin notes, explaining that even something as little as a plastic coating can make a product non-recyclable.
The cost can increase. One big reason why many have not embraced sustainable packaging is the cost. For brands, the cost will likely be raised 1%. However, manufacturers will likely see a 10% cost rise.
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