Gartner: 90% of Public Sustainable Packaging Commitments Won’t be Met by
December 13, 2021
Ongoing Reliance on Plastic and Single Use Packaging Requires
Organizations to Adjust Their Strategies
enterprise commitments to sustainable packaging have centered on 100% of
packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, Gartner.
predicts that 90% of those public sustainable packaging commitments
won’t be met by 2025 due to reliance on plastics and single use
“There are a number of reasons why well-intended corporate efforts to
establish sustainable packaging are not progressing,” said
John Blake, senior director analyst with the
Gartner Supply Chain practice. “For example, most kinds of
plastics are not broadly recyclable, and even if they were – the
recycling infrastructure and the aftermarket for recycled materials are
far from mature. Therefore, the overwhelming amount of packaging today
is not technically recyclable or is not widely recycled in practice.”
Companies must act now, as more countries and regions have already, or
plan to, implement Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation
that will either ban or penalize single-use packaging. For example, in
2021, Maine and Oregon passed the first EPR legislation in the United
States. New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Washington and California
are among states that have introduced or amended proposed legislation.
The U.K. is introducing a new tax on plastic packaging in 2022.
That’s why organizations will have to find ways to reduce single-use
packaging. One solution could be to incentivize consumers to embrace
reusable packaging and develop in-store refill models with retailers for
goods such as pet food, laundry detergent and beverages.
On a pre-competitive level, organizations can also come together and
scale innovative recycling methods and packaging solutions, for example
by collaborating via an industry association. The Consumer Goods Forum
provides “Golden Design Rules” for optimal plastic design, production
and recycling, and How2recycle provides member organizations with
harmonized labeling to improve package recycling.
Sustainable Packaging as an Innovation Driver
the recycling infrastructure and aftermarket for recycled plastic will
be limited for the foreseeable future, many companies focus on reducing
packaging waste by either eliminating unnecessary packaging or reducing
packaging size. In addition to replacement approaches, such as increased
use of recycled materials to offset virgin plastics, organizations are
piloting paper bottles, refill models and package take back programs.
Director with SmartSolve Industries
noted, "Over the past several
years, SmartSolve has seen a substantial jump in demand for our
sustainable innovation. Some of this is driven by established companies
who are desperately trying to meet their 2025 sustainability goals.
However, much of the demand is driven by fast-growing startups who are
seizing the market opportunity to differentiate themselves with their
packaging solutions. SmartSolve innovation presents an immediate
opportunity to couple sustainability and innovation through a substrate
which magically dissolves while also reducing the need for single use
“This challenge can also be a driver of upstream innovation. Supply
chain leaders can work with their peers to create a pipeline of new
products and business models that don’t rely on plastics or single-use
packaging. They should challenge their suppliers to commit to producing
sustainable packaging material, therefore increasing the organization’s
access to recycled or multi-use materials,” Blake concluded.