Circular economy key to post-Covid packaging growth
UK-headquartered sustainable flexible packaging business, Eco Flexibles, has highlighted the potential of circular economy principles in guiding the FMCG sector’s growth in the post-Covid packaging market.
‘As we return to some sort of normality, how effectively brands can market to environmentally enlightened consumers will be key,’ commented Matt Francklow, director of Eco Flexibles. ‘Today’s shopper is once again focusing on the green credentials of the products they buy, but the umbrella term of sustainability is losing its meaning. What consumers want to see is something tangible that they can understand and relate to. This is where demonstrating circular economy principles in packaging design comes to the fore.
‘Traditionally, brands have kept the technical details of packaging substrates very separate from the consumer, believing shoppers are less interested in terms such as PE, PP or PET, preferring either simple recyclable or non-recyclable messaging. However, we are seeing a much more enlightened and engaged consumer, who wants to know more about what the packaging is made from, why, and what its end-of-life disposal options are.
‘The idea of their packaging ending up in landfill and incinerators is abhorrent to many shoppers, so it’s natural that robust circular economy principles will prove key to sales. Linear packaging journeys are a big part of why plastic packaging has been so vilified so it’s an ideal time for businesses to boost their sustainable packaging credentials.’
Eco Flexibles works towards making flexible packaging more sustainable by light weighting, making it refillable or importantly, recyclable. In particular, the company is working with a number of brands and packers to transition their flexible packaging designs from mixed plastics to new fully recyclable monopolymer designs with equivalent pack performance.
Through its design and manufacturing organization structure, the business offers bespoke designs alongside off-the-shelf packs from flow wraps to lidding films and pouches. The business was formed by experienced packaging industry experts that believed sustainable packaging design was no longer in favor of the brand and sought to change that with a fresh way of working.
‘From our position as a sustainable packaging partner, we are afforded unique insight into what’s driving change from the consumer perspective. We use this to support our brand and packer customers with practical solutions that meet the needs of the packing and supply chain process, as well as the planet. For a long time, brands have been subject to what’s available on the market, not supported with fresh thinking and true innovation backed with a can-do attitude to new pack development. Eco Flexibles is changing the game on this front.
‘Our message to the wider FMCG sector is that today’s consumer is highly engaged with the packaging lifecycle, and that interest isn’t going away any time soon. Monopolymers, which have a clear channel for recovery, allow the consumer to visualize the full lifetime of a pack and are using this to inform purchase decisions. Unlocking the circular economy in everyday products has true commercial value, and its importance to sales recovery cannot be overstated,’ concluded Francklow.