Packaging material recovery and end-of-life options, especially for plastics, are dominating headlines today and are top-of-mind for consumers—partly as a result of the global outcry on pollution.
Tristanne Davis, senior manager with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), shares key takeaways and perspectives on this topic gleaned from presentations and other conversations at a flurry of recent packaging-sustainability events: SPC Engage: Minneapolis, GreenBiz’s Circularity ’19, Plastic Free World Conference and Expo, and the International Product Stewardship Forum.
• Recovery is increasingly about more than just recycling and recyclability.
• Reuse is among the key solutions being discussed more seriously (partly due to the new Loop initiative).
• Compostable, biobased solutions are quickly gaining momentum but the conversation can be confusing.
• Packaging optimization has a conflicting but evolving role in the conversation.
• Recycling needs to continue to play a key role in the solution to plastic waste and needs to be disrupted.
• Recovery needs to be safe and then circular (Bill McDonough from the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute introduces the idea of retox—where we cycle products over and over through recycling, but some of these materials we are recycling are toxic. So, we are also cycling toxic chemicals.)
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