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Sustainability Packaging: How Committed is Your Brand?

By Paul Harencak – November 16, 2021


As the country and the world continue to work towards decreasing pollution and reducing the carbon footprint, producers of flexible packaging need to be responsive to how it is perceived. Being able to recycle packaging is becoming more and more important to consumers. At the same time, consumers continue to want convenience and safety for their packaged goods, as well as freshness.


But what is sustainable packaging? SustainablePackaging.org offers this definition: Sustainable Packaging:


  • Is beneficial, safe, and healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle

  • Meets market criteria for both performance and cost

  • Is sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy

  • Optimizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials

  • Is manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices

  • Is made from materials that are healthy throughout the life cycle

  • Is physically designed to optimize materials and energy

  • Is effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial closed loop cycles.

Just how committed to greener packaging are U.S. consumers? McKinsey & Company did a survey in October 2020 that indicated a genuine desire for more sustainable packaging. The company found:


  • Across all end-use segments, 60% to 70% of consumers said they would pay more for sustainable packaging. A willingness to pay more was relatively equally distributed across end-use segments.

  • 52% of consumers said they would buy more products with sustainable packaging if those products didn’t cost more than conventionally packaged ones.

  • Approximately 35% to 36% of respondents would buy additional sustainably packaged products if they were more available in stores, available for more products, and better labeled (to indicate green packaging).

Flexible packaging has many admirable attributes, not the least of which is its superior capacity to keep air and moisture out, thereby extending a product’s shelf life. That benefits both the consumer and the product’s producer. But there is more.