In 2018, there were lots of anti-plastic campaigns on packaging materials. We also saw the start of three iconic initiatives; countries banning single-use plastics, the launch of the first plastic-free supermarket in London and Amsterdam, and the start of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.
In 2019, efforts are taking shape for companies to move towards increasing non-plastic packaging. One of the challenges of these efforts is the misinformation that bio-based plastics are referred to as non-plastic. A lot of education and awareness needs to be conducted as we champion initiatives against plastic use.
Although there are poor efforts in recycling plastic on a global scale, we need to focus more on new developments that will address the issues of the sustainability of recycling in 2019.
Paper in, Plastic Out
A more renewable, recyclable, and natural paper-based format that has a lower carbon footprint is appealing. This product resonates well with brands and retailers who have plastic-reduction packaging efforts. We are going to see a wide range of well-designed hybrid paper packs that use biodegradable bioplastic coatings on the inner linings. For instance, breakfast cereals, vegan, and vegetarian products will use these cartons.
An Increase in Recycling Collaborations
There is a challenge by brands to adopt bio-based alternatives because of the product cost compared to the cost of producing plastic. Suppliers and companies need to collaborate with recycling organizations to come up with functional systems to reduce waste. This collaboration will improve the recycling rates for packaging materials.
Bioplastics are posing a serious challenge to traditional plastic. There has been slow but steady adoption of bioplastics as compared to paper-based packaging materials. One of the challenges that the bioplastics phase is that there is no standard of defining what constitutes bioplastics. This has led companies to stay away from the products because there are many variations of materials used to create bioplastics. In 2019, we are hoping to see a normalization of the product. More companies are investing in the creation of bioplastics, which will create a packaging solution that is biodegradable.