As we stare down the anniversary of the shift to “Life, Pandemic Style,” stuck in the house barely leaving for anything but the necessities, one thing my husband and I have realized is we make A LOT of garbage. On the bright side, about half of it is recyclable, but still…it’s a lot of garbage. Other people must be noticing too, because a recent study by IRI predicts a major product trend for 2021 is that consumers will be actively seeking out items that use sustainable, renewable, and refillable packaging. Did it take Americans finally getting tired of taking out the trash to turn their focus to sustainability? Maybe not, but I suspect it may have helped.

Brands should be on notice. There are so many different ways to make packaging more sustainable that there are no excuses for not having some type of initiative in the pipeline. In the last months there have been lots of great examples, but a few stand out:

  • – You may have seen the commercials. America’s leading beverage companies have announced an initiative to reduce the industry’s use of new plastic by closing the recycling loop and creating a circular plastics economy. By improving the collection of used bottles and using them to create 100% recyclable bottles and caps, The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Keurig Dr Pepper have pledged a goal of “No Plastic in Nature by 2030.”
  • Nature Valley – As part of General Mills brand’s goal of having 100% recyclable packaging by 2025, they announced that Nature Valley Crunchy granola bars will have fully recyclable plastic wrappers starting this spring. Even better, the company is not patenting the technology and is encouraging other food brands to use their advanced flexible substrate to package their own products. Their challenge will be to educate consumers on how to recycle these new wrappers, but as more companies adopt the packaging, awareness and recycling opportunities will be on the rise.
  • Terraseed – This packaging rocked my world when I saw it as part of the New Hope Network’s 2020 Nexty Awards competition and I was not at all surprised when it took home the award for The Most Sustainable New Product of 2020. Terraseed is a multivitamin developed especially for vegans and everything about this brand is based on sustainability. The adorable tube packaging is 100% compostable and looks great hanging out in your medicine cabinet, as well.

And packaging is just one avenue to explore for increased sustainability – supply chain, ingredients, reducing carbon footprint, regenerative farming…the list goes on and on. And yet packaging is your product’s “home” so why not start there? As the saying goes “home is where the heart is” and what better way to show your brand’s dedication to a more sustainable future than upgrading your packaging. Let us know how you are planning to implement a sustainability initiative or if you just want some help figuring out how to get started.