Do Your Consumers Care about Your Packaging’s Environmental Impact?

Packaging Sustainability and Consumer Attitudes

plastic-free retail aisle

Do your consumers care about the sustainability of your packaging or is all the talk about sustainability simply “noise”? A number of recent events show that both consumers and retailers care about sustainability.

In this article, we look at a number of these events which show the level of concern about the environment across all Industries and stakeholders about sustainability.

Lidl’s Action on Sustainability

According to an article by Edel Hughes in the Irish Mirror in October 2018, retail giant Lidl Ireland has announced they will not be using black plastic packaging on their fruit and vegetable range due to the difficulty with recycling it. They plan to discontinue its use in all stores in Ireland and Northern Ireland by Christmas 2018. (Black plastic packaging cannot be recycled in Ireland or the UK as recycling sorting systems cannot detect the carbon black pigment it contains)

Lidl has also stated that they plan to remove black plastic packaging from meat and fish products August 2019. They also plan to remove many single-use plastic products(such as disposable cups, plates and drinking straws) from their stores in future.

Lidl estimate that these measures will prevent over 65 tonnes of black plastic packaging ending up in landfill every year.

Aldi’s Action on Sustainability

In an article by Tony Corbin in Packaging Week , it is reported that Aldi UK has announced (in the UK) that they will no longer use the non-recyclable plastic packaging currently used on its cooked meats and is replacing this with recyclable alternatives as part of its commitment to ensuring all its own-label packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022.

Interestingly, the managing director of Aldi UK (Corporate Responsibility), Fritz Walleczek, stated that these measures taken towards sustainability are in response to consumers demands for a reduction in plastic waste. “Our customers consistently tell us that they want to see a reduction in plastic waste, and we are committed to helping them achieve that by ensuring all our own-label packaging can be reused, recycled or composted by 2022”

“We have been reviewing all our products to help us achieve that, and this is just the latest in a string of initiatives that will help us reach that target.”

Britain’s First Plastic Free Supermarket Aisles

A London supermarket, Thornton’s Budgens (part of the Budgens chain which are grocery stores owned by independent retailers) has introduced plastic-free aisles in its supermarket. All packaging in these aisles is made from paper or cartonboard. If any packaging appears to be “plastic”, it is a sustainable version made from cellulose which is derived from a plant and is not derived in any part from fossil fuels.
Thornton Budgens has changed more than 1,700 product lines to non-plastic packaging over the past 10 weeks. The shop hopes to become virtually plastic free within a 3-year time frame.

Celebrity Backing for Plastic-Free Supermarket

Two celebrities who live locally, Jim Broadbent and Dame Janet Suzman have supported this move to plastic-free by the supermarket.
One of the co-founders of the campaign group, A Plastic Planet, Sian Sutherland is working with Thornton Budgens and says that the transition was being aided by “challenger” producers who are willing and interested in putting their foods into non-plastic packaging.

Plastic-Free Challenge to Big Brands

“It’s the big brands that are like snails with their pace of change,” she said.

The owner of Thornton’s Budgens, Andrew Thornton stated that he hopes that their initiative will challenge larger retail stores like Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s and others to follow their lead.

You can read more about this in an article from the Daily Telegraph.

Dollard Packaging Supply Plastic-Free Window Patches

If your cartons use a plastic window patch, we can use an eco-film which is a fully plant-based, compostable film that is non-plastic if you wish to make your cartons or sleeves more sustainable. Read more about the eco-film here.

If you would like to read more about making you packaging sustainable you may like to read our previous articles on sustainability.

7 Ways to Make your Cartons More Sustainable Blog

Bakery Converts to Fully Compostable Cartons

Pasta Manufacturer Changes from Plastic Bags to Cartons.

If you would like to explore ways to make your packaging more sustainable, please contact us at Dollard Packaging 01 847 0044 and we would be happy to help.