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Transitioning to more sustainable packaging takes time

Transitioning to more sustainable packaging takes time

Transitioning to more sustainable packaging takes time

There are timescales of up to 18 months, or longer for larger companies, to also consider, according to Mr Pamplin, which may require some internal restructuring.

“Changing a can to a pouch requires a completely new production line, as well as the need to prove that the quality of the shelf life, product, food safety and how it travels are not adversely affected,” he explains.

At present, demand for sustainable packaging has only started trickling down to manufacturers, according to Ms Sutton.

“There is no doubt it is increasing, but not at the rate needed to really encourage more strategic investment by packagers to offer a sound portfolio of easy-to-recycle materials and packs,” she says. “However, they have the opportunity to invest strategically and develop an informed packaging design strategy, enabling them to really support brands that want tried-and-tested solutions, which can be recycled.”

Martin Leeming, chief executive at TrakRap, says if big brands approved new types of sustainable packaging quicker it would accelerate the process massively. Brands, on the other hand, are sometimes uncertain about implementing change too fast.

The Hilton hotel chain has committed to cutting its global environmental impact in half by 2030, which involves reducing its plastic. But it will do so incrementally, says Maxime Verstraete, the company’s vice president of corporate responsibility.

“From our perspective, it is better to start small and scale up, because the world changes so rapidly and implementing something across all our hotels takes a long time,” he says.

To manage the transition to a more sustainable packaging future, Mr Pamplin thinks some smaller companies may need government support due to a lack of resources. Whereas, most experts agree a national tax on plastic is more likely to be created to incentivise change.

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