Survey results from the Grocery Manufacturers Assn (GMA) found that food, beverage and consumer products manufacturers anticipate that they will eliminate 4 billion lbs of packaging waste in the U.S. from 2005-2020. The 4 billion lbs represent a 19 percent reduction of the reporting companies' total average U.S. packaging weight.
The study found that more than 1.5 billion lbs have already been avoided since 2005, and another 2.5 billion lbs are expected to be avoided by 2020.
"Across the board, the food, beverage and consumer products industry has been vigilant in its efforts to reduce its environmental footprint," said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of GMA. "When it comes to eliminating packaging from the supply chain, we have already made significant progress, but we know we can do more. We look forward meeting this goal to eliminate 4 billion lbs of packaging by 2020."
The 1.5 billion lbs of packaging avoided since 2005 includes more than 800 million lbs of plastic and more than 500 million lbs of paper. Packaging improvements have spanned most product categories, with no single category dominating. Companies reported that they achieved the 2005-2010 reductions through the success of more than 180 distinct improvement initiatives that included package redesigns and increased use of recyclable inputs.
"In eliminating this packaging from the supply chain, we are reducing a significant volume of waste that would otherwise end up in landfills, but the benefits go far beyond that. Companies are reporting that packaging improvements are also enabling them to ship more units per truckload, reduce green house gas emissions and conserve resources such as water and energy," noted GMA senior director, energy and environmental policy John Shanahan.
"When it comes to eliminating packaging from the supply chain, we have already made significant progress, but we know we can do more," Bailey adds. "We look forward meeting this goal to eliminate 4 billion lbs of packaging by 2020."
The greenhouse gas emissions avoided by a 4 billion pound packaging reduction have the equivalent impact of removing 815,000 cars from the road or 363,000 homes from the energy grid for one year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator.
The report is based on the findings of two surveys conducted for GMA by McKinsey & Company and Georgetown Economic Services. To download the report, go to www.gmaonline.org.
Based in Washington, D.C., the Grocery Manufacturers Association is the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies that sustain and enhance the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe.