Fun fact: Every piece of plastic ever produced still exists in the world today. It’s a pretty strong argument for brands to use alternative packaging materials.
As consumers become more aware of the impact that plastic and non-recyclable waste is having on the world’s environment and ecosystems, their demand for alternatives is becoming increasingly vocal.
When the UK Recycling Association recently denounced the famous Pringles tube as ‘the number one recycling villain,’ the story began trending on Twitter, as people encouraged one another to boycott brands until they have re-thought their packaging.
It’s consumer pressure like this that compels businesses to “harness the power of bad publicity by taking definitive and innovative action,” LS:N Global reports. “There are plenty of examples of companies leading the way to fully recyclable, re-usable or even zero-packaging futures.”
Examples like London-based company Skipping Rocks Lab, who recently created Ooho – the world’s first edible water ‘bottle’ made from seaweed; Saltwater Brewery in Florida who come up with a six-pack beer ring made out of edible wheat and barley that can be consumed by fish – so it aids rather than endangers marine life; and French company Lactips who developed an edible plastic made from the milk protein casein, which can be dissolved in hot and cold water, is totally biodegradable within 18 days and can be used as home compost.
While not quite so innovative, back in New Zealand, Raglan Coconut Yoghurt has just partnered with TerraCycle to create the country’s first recyclable yoghurt pouch for their Little Yoghi range. While the recycling process still involves consumers collecting and posting used pouches back to TerraCycle, the materials can then be re-purposed to make things like park benches, watering cans and waste bins.
Recycling and sustainability are issues that are only going to increase in importance for consumers. Statistics from Nielsen and Deloitte consistently show that Millennials are the group most likely to choose products seen as sustainable or developed by socially and environmentally responsible organisations. As a result “brands must step up their sustainability credentials to ensure they retain their appeal and secure a long-term future,” says LS:N.