The ‘Plastic Crisis’ and what it means for your brand

The world of packaging is undergoing a major transformation, led by an alliance of Government and industry initiatives. Immense pressure is being applied to brands to rethink the way they package their goods to tackle what has been coined the ‘plastics crisis’. 

Australia is joining leading nations around the world in bringing in strong legislation that will set a new agenda for the use of recycled materials in product packaging.

New Rules: The National Plastics Plan

The Australian Government revealed The National Plastic Plan (NPP) in March this year, following the nation’s first ever National Plastics Summit which saw over 200 Government, industry, and community leaders joining forces to address the issue of plastic.

The plan revealed the extent of the plastic issue in Australia, with single-use plastic accounting for 1 million tonnes of the nation’s annual plastic consumption. With this figure expected to double by 2040, collective action must be taken by Government, industry and consumers. 

The Goals 

To address the issue at the source, the NPP unveiled four National Packaging Targets, aimed at building a new sustainable future for packaging in Australia, all of which to be met by 2025. 

  • 100% of packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
  • Phase out problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging.
  • 70% of plastic packaging to be recycled or composted.
  • 50% of average recycled content included in packaging.

Multiple interventions across the whole plastic-lifecycle are required to meet these goals; from design, to usage, recovery and reuse. Businesses have a significant role to play, with product design providing an unmatched point of intervention. It is estimated that 80% of a product’s total environmental impact is determined at the design stage. Product manufacturers have the power to undo the years of damage, through a review of their packaging materials as well as the message used in communicating these changes.

The Australian Government will work alongside product manufacturers to fast-track the phase out of problematic plastics; including expanded polystyrene, non-certified compostable packaging, and PVC labels. Regulatory action will be considered if these phase outs aren’t achieved by the end of 2022. 

Industry Initiative 

Retail giants Coles, Woolworths and Unilever are also frontlining the movement towards a more sustainable future, as they join the ANZPAC Plastic Pact, an industry-led campaign to end plastic consumption. These market leaders, along with Coca-Cola, Nestle and other multinationals, are committing to a series of ambitious goals to be achieved by 2025;

  • 100% of their packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
  • To eliminate unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging.
  • To boost the amount of plastic collected and recycled by 25%.
  • Average of 25% recycled content in plastic packaging across the regions.

So what does this mean for you? 

To put it simply, all packaging must be produced from sustainably sourced material by the end of 2022. Many brands have taken this opportunity to refresh their packaging and brand identity to reflect their new eco-friendly approach. A survey conducted by McKinsey revealed that consumers were more willing to buy additional environmentally-packaged products if more of them were better labeled. 

Take Colgate for example, their new Smile For Good range is made from 100% recyclable plastic and has a renewed look and feel to promote their green credentials. This clever marketing strategy has positioned Colgate at the forefront of ethically driven brands and driven sales on this new product line. 

The fast approaching deadline to reassess packaging materials offers a real opportunity for brands to embrace a more responsible and sustainable position in the market. Change is coming and manufacturers need to think hard about how their product will be perceived in the new green environment.

If you are planning on making the shift towards a greener, more sustainable future, and need some help updating your products’ packaging to reflect this, we are here to help. Our award-winning design team is here to propel your packaging to the future, with brand centric designs and creative concepts that will set your products apart from the crowd. 

Get in touch with NOUS at [email protected] or call us on 07 3003 0722.

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