There’s a growing focus on the environment and sustainability among consumers and businesses alike. For many retailers, that means investing in sustainable packaging and, according to new research, using sustainable packaging is very important to many businesses in Europe.
A study conducted by Smithers Pira, on behalf of Pro Carton, found that 96 per cent of respondents said that sustainable packaging was important to their business.
What’s more, 52 per cent described this kind of packaging as very important or critical for their organisation, showing that there’s a growing shift towards sustainability within companies from the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
The top three criteria for packaging to be considered sustainable were that it is recyclable (29.2 per cent), that it’s made using renewable and abundant materials (19.6 per cent) and that it uses minimal lightweight materials (15.5 per cent).
In addition, packaging being biodegradable was a concern for 5.1 per cent of those questioned, while 8.2 per cent stated that it would need to have a low environmental footprint.
Cardboard in particular is becoming an increasingly popular option for many of the reasons above. One respondent from the UK stated: “We are using more cardboard and we recycle everything we possibly can.”
The survey also revealed that it is consumers who are primarily driving the shift towards sustainable packaging, although noted that the pace of change is slow. That said, in the long term the sector is expected to grow as more and more organisations look at how to improve their environmental credentials.
When it came to looking at the properties of different packaging types, both rigid and flexible plastics were considered poor because they are difficult to recycle, are made from non-renewable resources and may contain dangerous chemicals.
While cartonboard performed more favourably on these criteria, it was not considered as good as plastic when it came to durability, strength or the moisture barrier on offer. In addition, the report predicted that corrugated card is likely to benefit from the move towards more sustainable packaging options.
Packaging Europe recently reported on a project currently being undertaken in Germany with the aim of optimising inkjet printing on corrugated board. The two firms involved – PTS Paper and SID – are currently seeking industry partners to discuss the developments with.
According to the publication, the rise in customised packaging is helping push forward new developments in digital printing. Given the data from Pro Carton’s research, it seems sustainability concerns could see corrugated card becoming a more popular option among businesses across Europe and therefore a material that more firms want to brand and print on.
The magazine explained that the challenges of printing on corrugated card include making sure the colour is applied as quickly and precisely as possible, and that it dries as fast as possible to prevent any disruption to the substrate of the card. Having a good digital ink filter is likely to be just one thing that can improve the quality of printing on this type of surface.