Year 2025 is scaring brands and manufacturers all over the world. And this time the cause is not the pandemic, or rather, not directly. It is a year that should represent the definitive stop to all packaging, especially single-use packaging, made of non-recyclable materials.
Many countries have already introduced plastic bans, including Australia, which last year banned the sale, supply, and distribution of single-use plastic products such as straws and cutlery.
In the wake of the alarming – and of course justified – claims by organisations and governments to protect the planet, brands and manufacturers have decided to take the field and join the front line in favour of the environment.
It would seem like the end of a beautiful fairy tale, but unfortunately, things are actually different.
Brand sustainability promises
Just surf the net to read all the press releases of the biggest multinationals, which, with disruptive pride, announce their ‘green promises by 2025’: suddenly the Earth’s health has become an urgent and no longer irrelevant problem.
These are mostly food or cosmetics industries, which just a few months (or weeks) ago filled consumers’ recycling bins with their unnecessary packaging.
Sustainability promises include a commitment to 100% recyclable packaging, the elimination or downsizing of so-called secondary packaging, and raising awareness of proper waste separation through targeted communication campaigns.
Clearly, these are very worthy goals, but they inevitably come up against a productive and social reality that is not ready for this kind of change.
The great risk in these cases is that these sustainable promises end up becoming a double-edged sword: if on the one hand consumers themselves demand and appreciate the green change of the big industries, on the other hand not carrying it out would probably mean considerable damage in terms of corporate image.
And the risk of greenwashing is very high in this case.
Why the eco-friendly turn of companies is still a mirage
The research company Gartner.Inc. adds to this by issuing a press release on its website stating that as many as 90% of sustainable packaging initiatives will not be completed by the 2025 deadline.
The main reason would be that it is difficult for consumers and companies themselves to face such a big change in such a short time.
In other words, we are not yet ready.
The company states, for example, that most of the plastics used in packaging and product manufacturing are not fully recyclable and therefore most packaging is not actually reused. But the problem is not only in the materials: the infrastructure for recycling plastics is not yet well developed enough to support such large quantities of material. The risk is that the correct supply of materials cannot be ensured and this could cause major delays in production.
How can we meet our green commitments by 2025?
But not everything is lost: changing the entire production system is not the only solution.
We could start by adopting really effective communication campaigns to raise awareness among consumers who are aware of the problem, but not yet sufficiently so as to lead them to fully sustainable choices. To this end, companies could promote the use of reusable packaging (for detergents or body care products, for example) and devise marketing campaigns aimed at encouraging proper waste separation, including through prizes and discounts.
But that’s not all.
In this ecological frenzy, there are still few companies that are thinking about completely re-evaluating the packaging choice: there is some discussion about the use of new materials – often even improperly defined as sustainable – or even the sale of products on the shelf without any packaging. In reality, the solution lies in looking back to the past, to the solutions that years ago, before the advent of plastic, made products transportable and convenient to use.
The aluminium tube is a good example: it was the first packaging in the cosmetics and art industry and is still widely used in the food sector for sauces, dressings, and sweet creams.
The use of this versatile, hygienic, and convenient packaging would allow many manufacturers to fulfill their green promises as it is 100% recyclable and easily accessible.
At Favia, we’ve been producing aluminium tubes since 1934, offering an eco-friendly packaging solution to companies that have decided to take care of the planet’s health over the years.
In particular, ToBeNatural – our tube with aluminium body and compostable polymer capsule – is able to meet even the most demanding sustainability requirements.
The choice of this type of packaging would therefore be ideal to be ready for the dreaded 2025 deadline.