Shifting to sustainable packaging

Of the 1.6 million tonnes of domestic waste disposed of in 2018, one-third is made up of packaging, and only 4% of that is recycled. Conventional food production, packaging and distribution have been tied to environmental, societal and financial burdens globally. Companies have been proactively gearing towards more sustainable food packaging options that is still able to carry out the main purpose of its design whilst incurring as little harm to the environment as possible. This is done through the procurement and processing of the materials to make the packaging, followed by the Reusability Rate of that packaging. Choosing safe and sustainable food packaging will benefit so many of us in the long-run, and here are the reasons why.

The Plastic Pandemic

As our landfills and waterways are increasingly clogged with plastic bags and disposable coffee cups and cutleries, the convenience of food packaging has overshadowed the waste and pollution that the packaging leaves behind. More so now than ever, the current pandemic has accentuated a trend to create more, not less, plastic trash. As takeaway meals and deliveries from our favourite haunts have been indispensable given the dine-in restrictions, it has resulted in a significant increment of 1,334 tonnes in plastic packaging from households and restaurants. Despite the push for more sustainable packaging options, many F&B outlets that are dedicated to waste reduction remain a minority. Many are still deterred by the perceived hassle and cost and see little benefit to cutting packaging. Moreover, consumers are also concerned with hygiene issues during this pandemic, rendering initiatives like the Bring-Your-Own movement less effective. However, all hope is not lost for a more responsible management of our resources. With a more progressive movement and government initiatives towards waste reduction, we can increase the momentum to cut waste through sustainable food packaging options.

Consumers Growing Demand for Sustainability

Sustainability has become a big trend as environmental concerns are increasingly at the top of the mind of many consumers. Studies by Accenture had found that 83% of respondents believed that it is “important or extremely important” that companies design their products to be more environmentally friendly. With that as a spur for change, more and more companies, especially in the food packaging sector has been embracing the circular economy as a greater opportunity to drive growth and competitive agility.

Moreover, sustainable food packaging has proved to be a much safer option as they are free from allergens and toxins (more commonly found in disposable options). Given that consumers are concerned with type of products they consumer, it would be astute for businesses to shift to sustainable, biodegradable food packaging options. Here are some creative options put out by brands recently:

Organic Beeswax Wraps

In collaboration with Creativeans and SustainableSG, we produced an eco-friendly food wraps made from Beeswax.

Future Smart Edible Paper Cup

Purported to be the first 100% renewable cup for takeaway beverages, the ‘Future Smart’ cup is created using plant-based materials that can be used with hot or cold beverages as well as ice cream and even food.

The Sunrise Valley Customizable Egg Packaging

The packaging is made from 100% recyclable materials to keep the focus on recycling and the ecological nature of the product. The collapsible design of the packing makes it highly adaptable and easy to store.

Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility

Businesses usually wrongfully considered the shift to sustainable food packaging as additional economic costs rather than an added value. However, as more awareness has been created, many well-known brands such McDonald’s and Starbucks had made the move towards more sustainable food packaging offerings. By 2025, the fast-food giant, McDonald’s has pledged to produce food packaging that are 100% renewable and recyclable. Additionally, Starbucks aspires to launch a fully recyclable and compostable coffee cup in three years’ time.

These efforts are further spurred by various government initiatives, such as the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) by Enterprise Singapore which supports company to grow and transform. Singapore food manufacturing companies can tap on EDG to develop new sustainable packaging designs, with up to 80% subsidies. Here at Creativeans and CreativeMark, we are approved consultants by Enterprise Singapore and DesignSingapore Council to support Singapore food manufacturers in market research, brand positioning and design of visual packaging. Engage with us to know more about the grant and how we can help transform your brand through packaging.