Health, Well-being And Sustainability Are Shaping The Packaging Landscape In India.

Packaging converters and other packaging companies will have to rethink how to navigate the choppy waters to stay on.

The COVID- 19 pandemic has caused various market disruptions. Both short- and long-term consequences will arise from these disruptions, which are expected to generate more than USD 900 billion annually for the global packaging industry. The most significant changes include a wide range of substantial shifts in channels, increased concern for public health and safety, fluctuating raw materials prices, increases in single-use packaging bans and disruptions in various end markets, such as restaurants and hotels. Additionally, we anticipate the present crisis to have an impact on the current packaging megatrends.

In the post-COVID-19 situation, many packaging companies will face new challenges, such as strengthening sustainability goals, accelerating e-commerce business, and competing in a dynamic market where costs are rising. Packaging converters and other packaging companies will have to rethink how to navigate the choppy waters to stay on. They should keep in mind four imperatives that will help them achieve success.

Sustainability is being redefined.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, sustainability was front and centre for the packaging value chain due to concerns over single-use packaging waste regulations. Various consumer goods (FMCG) regulators and companies had acted on the matter. Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) businesses and retailers had committed to revising their packaging systems and tackling sustainability issues.

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, however, the focus shifted to hygiene and food safety. Looking ahead, how will the sustainability agenda change after the COVID-19 crisis? Sustainability will continue to be a significant industry-shaping trend. Hygiene and consumer safety should be added to the definition of sustainability, but the emphasis on sustainability should remain. Indeed, present concerns about hygiene and food safety may play a more significant role in the buying decisions of both consumers and FMCG (food and non-food companies) — all the way down the value chain.

A good example is that some retailers are putting new emphasis on hygiene and safety practices, some of which will be valuable even after the pandemic has ended. Many consumers are requesting for hygienic products as well as single use packaged goods. It can significantly influence the packaging material preferences by looking at the substrate, packaging design or specific functionality that ensures protection from the virus. From this perspective, companies that make packaging will have to deal with sustainability and hygiene issues and financial, functional and usability requirements. It could worsen the situation because volatile raw material prices and disruptions to recycling services will further disrupt markets. Companies must test new approaches to promote sustainability, for example, by using compostable packaging materials.

Consumer awareness about the ocean and landfill packaging waste is leading to change.

Convenience and food waste reduction go hand in hand when it comes to advanced packaging. Packaging has enjoyed strong growth over the past decade, propelled by shifts in the substrate and new-end markets. The increased use of plastics and the recent developments in China and other emerging regions are noteworthy.

Widespread use of single-use packaging containers has caused severe environmental damage. Managing packaging waste is currently facing a significant crisis due to two critical issues that have yet to be resolved.

Recyclability in packaging: Recycling systems cannot currently handle the volume of packaging produced today. Today, multi-material packaging poses a significant and unresolved recycling challenge, which is more applicable in this situation.

Product packaging and leakage: Compared to plastic packaging, recycling rates for such materials are low. The leakage rate in the United States is generally low, but food and packaging plastic recovery rates are about 28 per cent. in Europe, the plastic-packaging recycling rate reported was somewhere between 40 per cent and 80 per cent, with a paperboard recycling rate between 75 per cent and 80 per cent and a metal and glass recycling rate between 75 per cent and 95 per cent. (Note, however, that overall data on recycling rates is relatively immature, so real-world rates may differ from reported figures).

The developing world is facing the most pressure because demand for packaging growth outpaces global growth rates, and the proper waste collection and recycling infrastructure is not yet in place. Only 19 per cent of all plastic waste is re-processed, while around 16 per cent of all plastic flows (both durable and non-durable) are unmanaged or otherwise let into the environment. Majority of the global plastic waste ends up in landfills (40 per cent) or incineration (25 per cent), meaning that these materials are irretrievable as a resource.

A remarkable amount of attention has been given to the recent uptick in plastic waste leaching into the environment, and there is growing public awareness of this problem. Ocean plastic pollution has evoked visceral reactions among consumers worldwide.

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