Just last month, we wrote about “Brands That Cause the Most Plastic Pollution.” However, many firms practice socially-responsible packaging. We also need to recognize them.
Insights About Firms That Practice Socially-Responsible Packaging
Despite some activities to the contrary, numerous firms engage in socially-responsible packaging. Below, we look at food packaging.
From food packages constructed of cornstarch and plant-based coatings that extend fruit freshness to liquor bottles made of paper, traditional food and beverage packaging is undergoing an overhaul. “Numerous initiatives in the United States and Europe fund work on alternative plastics,” says Carson Meredith, executive director with the Renewable Bioproducts Institute and a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Behind this innovation is growing recognition that the convenience of traditional single-use packaging imposes significant environmental and economic costs.
“Single-use packaging relies on the continuous extraction of limited raw materials to keep up with market demand,” says Bridget Croke, managing director with Closed Loop Partners, a New York-based investment firm focused on building the circular economy. This degrades ecosystems and emits greenhouse gases. Moreover, because materials are thrown away rather than recaptured at the end of their use, their economic value ultimately goes to waste, too. Disposal fees and processes also add costs.
Growing consumer concern about the environmental impact of food and beverage packaging also has an impact. Consumers’ top concerns about food packaging are, understandably, hygiene and safety, according to a recent McKinsey & Company survey (see chart). At the same time, 55% of those surveyed indicate they’re extremely or very concerned about the environmental impact of packaging.