The role of packaging in the Circular Economy

In today’s world, product packaging plays a key role in protecting products and facilitating lifestyles.

With rapid urbanization as well as the expansion of the middle class that makes up the bulk of the global economy, the packaging industry is expected to grow by $1 trillion in just four years.

And so while packaging is growing, governments and environmental organizations fear it will have an impact on Climate Change. To protect the planet from this growth, but without depriving consumers of the necessary packaging, companies have followed the Circular Economy model.

Κυκλική Οικονομία

What is the Circular Economy?

The circular economy is a modern economic model through which the resources we have are used more efficiently to create products.

In the packaging sector, it involves creating packaging that is not single-use but reusable, as it is produced from sustainable raw materials that can provide value time and time again.

Imagine not having to constantly throw away waste and being able to take the packaging that comes into your hands and either reuse it or recycle it to create new packaging from scratch for someone else’s use.

Κυκλική Οικονομία

Eco-friendly Mindset

The importance that both governments and consumers have placed on the environmental impact of packaging has led businesses to choose “green” and eco-friendly packaging.

We would say that a global eco-friendly mindset is being created where packaging is gaining momentum, packaging industries are innovating and all for the benefit of the environment.

But what led to the need for sustainable packaging?

#1 Consumer behaviour

The consumer is no longer satisfied with a tasteful and modern packaging, but is looking for something more. They want the products they choose to be contained in sustainable packaging.

Plastic waste and marine pollution is a frequent topic in the news and this seems to have a significant impact on consumers, who are now more aware and demanding.

#2 Change of Environmental Regulations

Governments around the world in recent years have taken drastic measures to address the increase in carbon emissions by creating stricter rules and incentives that shift companies towards the circular economy.

Recently, Greece has implemented an environmental fee on plastic bags, a measure that leads to a circular economy.

#3 Electronic commerce

The rise of e-commerce, especially in the pandemic, created huge packaging needs and a new challenge that the circular economy solution seemed to be a one-way street.

From Linear to Circular

Until now, most packaging has been designed to be used and then end up in the bin. Although this linear model is convenient for consumers, who currently do not bear the cost of this waste, it is an inefficient use of materials.

In order to have a more efficient use, we need to think about the entire life cycle of a package, so that the system can be changed from linear to circular.

Many well-known product companies have already turned in this direction because they know that this will not only reduce their environmental footprint but also improve their growth prospects.

More and more companies are asking packaging companies for packaging made of fabric or sustainable plastic. The implementation of the environmental levy on plastic bags has contributed to this.

But how does the cyclical economy model works?

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#1 Sustainable raw materials

Packaging companies should start choosing raw materials that can be recycled.

Thanks to advances in materials technology, sustainable raw materials can be transformed into beautiful, usable and safe packaging that consumers will be happy to buy.

#2 Distribution

As mentioned above, more and more companies are choosing to use sustainable packaging to help the planet and to show their environmental awareness to their customers. As this distribution network grows, packaging companies will also turn in this direction.

Consumers with sustainable packaging in their hands will have the opportunity to reuse or recycle it. In this way, the waste generated will be reduced year on year.

If consumers choose to recycle the packaging, it will be collected by the right people and after undergoing the necessary processing, it will be returned back to the packaging industry for another cycle.

In this circular economy way, the life of materials can be perpetual.

The circular economy model in Greece

ur country is among the lowest in Europe in terms of the adoption of cyclical models.

In recent years, some small steps have been taken in the right direction and EKT has shown that it also provides practical support to Greek businesses that are turning to green and circular solutions.

However, in order to achieve this transition from a linear to a circular economy, companies, consumers and packaging companies will have to be educated, learn about its benefits and finally start adopting the principles of the circular economy.