By Puja Gupta
Consumers today are making responsible choices. And the pandemic has acted as a catalyst in pushing the cause of moving towards a sustainable society by making intelligent choices.
Over the last decade retail and F&B have grown multi scale leading to a rise in the consumption. And packaging plays an important part in their marketing strategy.
Packaging is an important factor to accentuate the look, feel and the branding of the product. In most cases there is a choice a brand needs to make between sustainable and non-sustainable packaging materials. This choice depends on both the cost and the convenience, says Samrat Reddy, Founder at Drunken Monkey that uses packaging materials either made of paper or glass based on the requirement.
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However, the present situation of the world is a reminder it is high time we make sure everything we use and do is sustainable and has a positive impact on the planet.
Hence, major brands have announced their plans to go fully sustainable in the next few years. Making sure that the packaging materials are sustainable would definitely be among the top there ways to reduce the negative impact on the environment, believe experts.
Ankur Chawla, co-founder at Responsible Whatr, India’s first natural mineral water beverage offered in a sustainable and endlessly recyclable aluminium cans, says: “We have come to realise that it (sustainable packaging) is more a necessity and not trend anymore. We at Responsible Whatr have made this as a part of the culture for the organization. Starting from not pumping the water out from the ground and utilizing only the free flow water, to using the aluminium in the cans made from 70 percent recycled aluminium.”
A 2016 study by ICF International found that the combined greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the transportation and refrigeration of beverages in aluminum cans are lower than those associated with beverages in glass or plastic bottles under the same conditions.
On a per liter beverage basis, emissions associated with transporting and cooling aluminum cans are 7 to 21 percent lower than plastic bottles and 35 to 49 percent lower than glass bottles, depending on the size of the comparative bottles as well as the types of refrigerators in which beverage is cooled prior to consumption, he informs.
“On a per container basis, the associated emissions of beverage packaged in a 12-oz aluminum can is 45 percent lower than in a 12-oz glass bottle and 49 percent lower than in a 20-oz plastic bottle when delivered and chilled in small markets and convenience stores.
He elaborates: “An internal industry study done in India shows, for refrigeration if the capacity of the refrigerator is 285 litres, 186 Cans of 500 ml could be accommodated vis-a-vis 86 bottles of 650 ml. The approximate time required to reach 6 degree Celsius, for Cans it takes 11.5 hours vis-a-vis 20.5 hours for bottles. Regarding transportation, approximately 2X more Cans are transported in single consignment when compared to glass bottles. Per liter transportation is 54 percent lower for Cans compared to bottles.”
Cardboard, glass, paper, jute and cloth materials are some of the sustainable packaging options. However, sustainable packaging may put additional cost to the company, thereby increasing the cost of the products. Looking at the cost, companies need to consider the overall cost of ownership which means the cost towards production, filling, transportation, refrigeration, storage etc till end of life.
Reddy says: “It definitely increases the cost which varies with different material. Generally, we can say that there would be a minimum of 30 percent increase in the cost of packaging.
“It does put some amount of burden, but it is a choice a brand has to make on the basis of their ethics. We as a brand strongly believe in everything being natural and our core product is also natural and fresh fruit smoothies. So it is in our DNA.”
He is of the view that the authorities should set up strict guidelines for making sure everything consumers buy sustainable products. “This is one way to fast track the implementation.” (IANS)