Cartons rated as ‘most sustainable’ packaging by consumers

Consumers are demanding more renewable materials and environmental labelling on the products they buy, with many rating cartons as the most eco-friendly packaging type.

The research from Tetra Pak found that consumers perceived the use of paper in cartons to be highly renewable, with more than 50% of them believing that bi-based plastics will further improve the environmental performance of carton packaging.

Likewise, food industry stakeholders – also surveyed within the study – ranked the use of bio-based materials as one of the most important environmental trends shaping the future of beverage packaging.

Growing demand for more environmental information on packaging was another key finding. In order to make informed choices, 37% of consumers regularly search for environmental logos on food packaging.

Today, 54% of consumers trust environmental labels, compared with 37% in 2011. One in five consumers in the survey recognise the Forest Stewardship Council logo, with most able to associate it with sustainable forestry.

Recycling meanwhile remains a fundamental expectation of both consumers and food industry stakeholders. Sorting and setting aside packaging for recycling remains the number one environmental activity among consumers, as it has been since 2005.

The ability to recycle packaging material is regarded as a top priority among food industry stakeholders when developing a product or a service.

According to Tetra Pak CEO Dennis Jönsson, the findings of the report reinforce the importance of putting environmental issues at the heart of the company’s agenda.

Earlier this month Jönsson admitted that the business was lagging on its sustainability objectives around recycling – it needs to triple the amount of recycled packages sold by 2020, from 2010, to meet its 40% target.

The company says its approach is to improve recyclability of its products as well as increasing the rates of recycling at a global level.

“We have no illusions about the challenges we face. But we believe that by finding new ways to process, package and distribute food and to deal with waste, and by working with partners throughout the value chain, we will make a difference for the futures of the company, the industry and the society,” Jönsson said.

Maxine Perella

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