According to a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), global plastic production reached a staggering 460 million tonnes in 2019, more than doubling from 2000 statistics.
Only nine percent of that total tonnage was successfully recycled, 19 percent was incinerated, and nearly half was sent to landfills. The remainder —roughly 20 percent—was disposed of in uncontrolled dumpsites or leaked into the environment. Almost 40 percent of plastic use was attributed to packaging, which typically has a short lifespan when compared to other applications such as construction.
The impact of packaging waste is also driving stricter regulations around the globe, as governments and industries enact initiatives to reduce dependence on single-use plastics in favor of more sustainable alternatives.
The need for a sustainable alternative solution is clear. And beverage companies can meet this need head-on by exploring the benefits of fiber-based packaging as an alternative to plastic rings and shrink wrap.
Swapping plastic packaging for recyclable alternatives can significantly reduce the environmental impact of packaging. Paperboard is made from renewable plant-based fiber from sustainably managed forests, and the fiber is often a byproduct of construction timber.
Compared to plastic alternatives, paper and paperboard are far more likely to be recycled, with recycling rates that are more than double in Europe, and nearly fifteen times higher in the United States.
Recent research from the Paper & Packaging Board shows consumers are actively choosing to support paper-based alternatives, with four in ten consumers stating they actively avoid plastic packaging, while 87 percent stated they preferred paper-based packaging.
Making fiber fit for purpose
It doesn’t matter how sustainable a packaging solution might be — it must meet the required performance standards to be an effective, desirable beverage multipack.
It must cope with the rigors of a modern beverage supply chain. It has to offer flexibility in terms of pack styles, formats, and size capabilities. It should be offered in combination with a range of integrated automation solutions to ensure operational efficiency. And it should consider consumers’ needs, with safe and convenient carrying, opening, and dispensing features.
Ensuring these needs are met — while delivering packs that create real differentiation and impact on the retail shelf —is best accomplished in collaboration with a fiber-based packaging expert like Graphic Packaging.
Making the switch
Our recent eBook provides vital insights into fiber-based beverage multipack designs, including the many options that are available, guidance around switching from plastic to fiber, and more.
It contains case studies of how two leading beverage brands — Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I and Molson Coors — replaced their plastic packaging on key product lines with fiber-based solutions.
Both customers found success in a fiercely competitive market with sustainable multipacks that were well accepted by consumers. And, whether you’re in the soft drinks, craft beer, or bottled water segment, you too can revolutionize your multipack solutions with fiber-based packaging.
Source: Graphic Packaging