Data Analysis Software Can Help the Growth of Post-Consumer Resin Packaging in the CPG Industry
More than ever, customers today are looking to support sustainable companies. According to a Nielsen survey in 2015, 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay extra to purchase products from companies that they view as being “socially responsible.” That figure is up more than 10 percent from 2014 (when only 55 percent of consumers answered the survey the same way), and it is expected to continue to grow over the next few years.1 Companies in a wide range of industries are responding to consumer demand by looking for ways to act more sustainably, whether by donating profits to environmental causes or declaring their support for the Paris Climate Accord.
For consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, one way to demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability is to adopt sustainable packaging practices. Indeed, a March 2017 survey conducted by Packaging Digest indicates that about 69 percent of CPG companies are currently integrating recycled-content materials into their packaging.2 As packaging made from post-consumer resin (PCR) becomes increasingly widespread within the industry, CPG companies will be challenged to keep up with competitors by using PCR packaging for as many of their products as possible. Modern software can aid in the identification and testing processes for goods that may be repackaged using post-consumer resin.
PCR Packaging Options
There are several classes of recycled materials that CPG companies can choose from when developing a sustainable packaging strategy for a particular product. The best option depends on a wide range of factors, but the nature of the product is usually the most important consideration.
- Recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) is one of the most common types of PCR resin used for CPG packaging. PET consists of two monomers (modified ethylene glycol and purified terephthalic acid), and it can be used to package both food and non-food items—think of plastic water bottles, two-liter soda bottles, and other packaging with the “1” recycling code. Recycled PET can be used for the same types of packaging as traditional PET, and it is most commonly used by CPG companies that produce food and beverage items.3
- Recycled high-density polyethylene (rHDPE) is another option for sustainable CPG packaging. Behind only PET, HDPE is the second-most commonly recycled plastic in the world — think of milk jugs and household cleaner bottles. It is more durable than PET, so it is better for repackaged goods that require a higher degree of protection.4
- “Storied plastics,” which are currently growing in popularity, present a third option for sustainable CPG packaging. Storied plastics are recycled from very specific types of goods, such as cosmetics bottles, snack containers, or juice pouches. The direct traceability of storied plastics may appeal more to consumers than more generic PCR resins like rPET and rHDPE because it tells them exactly where the recycled packaging came from.5
Whether a CPG company chooses rPET, rHDPE, or storied plastics to sustainably package a particular product, the effort can increase brand loyalty and help the company stay ahead in an increasingly competitive field.
Repackaging Existing CPG Products with Sustainable Materials
To fulfill consumer demands for CPG products that are packaged using sustainable materials—and to keep up with competitors in the industry—CPG companies need to identify existing products that can be repackaged using PCR resin. One way to easily determine which products are compatible with packaging replacement is to use modern database evaluation software. Today, it’s simple for scientists to probe in-house and external databases for information about the properties of certain types of products, thanks to research software which can filter the data to include only information relevant to the development of sustainable packaging strategies.
Allowing scientists to easily locate and access the scientific data collected during the product development process helps them to avoid conducting costly and time-consuming duplicate tests. This can save the organization money, and those savings can subsequently be passed down to the customers. Though customers have indicated a willingness to pay more for sustainably packaged products, they still appreciate it when companies keep sustainability-related price hikes to a minimum. In other words, utilizing software that supports lab efficiency can help increase brand loyalty and keep customers coming back for years to come.
BIOVIA Insight is an innovative software solution that makes it easy to locate, access, filter, visualize, and analyze data. Contact us today for more information about how this technology can support sustainable CPG product repackaging efforts at your company.
- “Sustainable selections: How socially responsible companies are turning a profit,” October 12, 2015, http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2015/sustainable-selections-how-socially-responsible-companies-are-turning-a-profit.html?afflt=ntrt15340001&afflt_uid=aj4KoPrcOsw.ZptBf0gTMrgAfUsqoTQEf1tN7-7s9F2r&afflt_uid_2=AFFLT_ID_2 ↩
- “Is there a market for recycled content in flexible packaging?” March 28, 2017, http://www.packagingdigest.com/flexible-packaging/is-there-a-market-for-recycled-content-materials-in-flexible-packaging-2017-03-28 ↩
- “What is rPET?” 2017, http://verdecorecycling.com/what-is-pet/ ↩
- “About rPET and rHDPE,” 2017, http://crespac.com/aboutrpetrhdpe.html ↩
- “Using ‘Storied Plastics; in consumer product packaging,” April 24, 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/using-storied-plastics-in-consumer-product-packaging_us_58fe3b2ee4b086ce589813cb ↩