Packaging Group Lays Out Sustainability Options in New Guide

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition, in an effort to encourage uptake in recycled content in packaging, is offering a guide that lays out the strengths and weaknesses of different reusable materials—both from a material and manufacturing standpoint.

If your industry is trying to encourage a certain behavior, it always helps to lay out the options in an easy-to-follow way.

Which is why the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s recent efforts to explain and clarify the process for using recycled content in packaging might prove a great lesson for those looking to try a similar tactic.

SPC’s new Design for Recycled Content Guide breaks down the different types of plastics that can be used, the challenges and opportunities that can come with using them, and the attributes of the different materials that might make one work better than another in a given context. The guide covers nearly half a dozen different variants of plastic, along with paperboard, corrugate, glass, aluminum, and steel.

The coalition says that the process goes both ways—both in terms of recycling materials and reusing them. In other words: If there’s no market, it becomes harder to do.

“Designing recyclable packaging is critical to creating a supply of recycled materials,” the guide says. “However, for the recycling system to be robust and healthy, the practice of designing for recyclability must be accompanied by a practice of providing market demand for recycled content.”

Accordin to SPC, the guide came about through interviews with various stakeholders, including manufacturers, converters, brands, and retailers. The commentary helps to contextualize the guide’s key points.

The goal of the guide, said Kelly Cramer, who leads the How2Recycle program within SPC and is GreenBlue’s director of program management, is to offer “actionable frameworks to allow and encourage” better use of sustainability in the manufacturing process.

“To that end, Sustainable Packaging Coalition is hopeful that its Design for Recycled Content Guide better illuminates what that path can or should look like for companies to make more circular packaging,” Cramer said in a news release.

The guide is available to both members and nonmembers.

A close-up shot of plastic granules that might be used in manufacturing. (LukaSvetic/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!