In August 2019, the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) started a ban of plastic water bottles smaller than one liter from being sold at concession stands, lounges, restaurants, or vending machines. It marked the first time a major U.S. airport issued such a policy, and it’s a step toward SFO’s goal to be a zero-waste hub by 2021.
In October 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that bans hotels from furnishing guest rooms with miniature shampoo and lotion bottles and other containers under six ounces. Once it goes into force in 2023, it will have the effect of shifting how the hotel industry in California packages its most basic amenities.
What happens first in California, long-term, rarely applies only to that state. These new actions are just two of dozens of similar “plastic bans” bills passed, pending, or proposed in states across the U.S., and serve as additional signs that sustainability is here to stay.
It's no longer enough to think green
It’s no longer enough to think green; consumers, legislators, and the market are collectively demanding that consumer packaged goods (CPG) firms and other companies rethink everything from manufacturing processes to product design. As a result, companies today must identify ways to embed the environmental, social, and economic aspects of sustainability into how they do business.
The good news is that the markets are rewarding companies that walk the walk. So are consumers—more and more. Research shows that 81% of global shoppers feel strongly that companies should help the environment. Millennials and Generation Z, in particular, are choosing to pay more for sustainable products.
One way to step up to the challenge is to reduce or reconfigure your packaging.
In a 2018 study, Nielsen identified packaging as one of five strategic opportunities for retailers and manufacturers to embrace sustainability. Also, on that list is finding ways to integrate sustainability into customer touchpoints and marketing. Your sustainable packaging story can help with that too.
Start with packaging
Start with packaging—not sustainability.
Here’s why: the primary goal of packaging isn’t sustainability. It’s to preserve and protect your product.
Before you even think about bio-resins, repurposed plastics, or anything else, you want to work with a packaging partner who can evaluate the requirements of your product and recommend a material and a structure that ensures shelf stability and compatibility. You also need to ensure product integrity.
Dented, leaking, and crushed packages can mar the consumer’s experience. And sad or mad tweets, unhappy posts, and bad word of mouth can impact perceptions of your brand.
Designing packaging that protects the aesthetic and functional requirements of a package has never been more essential. In our ecommerce economy, today’s package might be handled up to 20 times before it reaches its destination (versus 5x using traditional bricks and mortar channels). As a result, your packaging must preserve, protect, and ensure structural integrity from development to delivery to the consumer’s door.
Using packaging to tell your story
Once you’ve identified your primary packaging goals, then it’s time to consider how to address these goals with sustainable solutions. The choices you make, from designing refillable pod packaging to incorporating recycled ocean plastics into your bottles can help tell your sustainability story to consumer—and serves as a reflection of your brand identity.
We’re ready to help guide you, no matter where you are in your sustainable journey. Contact us to learn more.
Source: Was 2018 the Year of the Influential Sustainable Consumer? https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2018/was-2018-the-year-of-the-influential-sustainable-consumer/