Research by market intelligence agency Mintel found that many consumers globally aren’t recognising personal responsibility around sustainability efforts and expect product and packaging manufacturers to lead the charge.
The Packaging Reset report suggested that manufacturers and brands develop and commercialise recyclable innovations even if the capabilities to recycle them do not yet exist.
It also identified a need for better collection systems and recycling processes.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
While many consumers were familiar with the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra, they needed to be reminded to ‘return’ packaging to the proper recycling bin or store take-back system, the report found.
The research also highlighted the growth of independent packaging-free stores but said the process needed to be “quick and easy” for the customer if in-store refill was to become normalised.
“This may entail a move towards vending machine-style dispensers that can easily and accurately dispense the product without waste or mess, as well as calculate and track cost/spend for fast payment,” the report stated.
However, Mintel global packaging director David Luttenberger warned that without packaging to serve as one of the main communication channels from brands to consumers, branding could become challenging.
“Brands should look to offer memorable experiences through refill in order to create brand engagement, with those bringing some theatre to the refill moment most likely to succeed,” said Luttenberger.
“And while many smaller refill stores use Instagrammable containers (such as attractive heritage glass jars), if refill is to become mainstream, consumers will expect refillable options that are easy to use from start to finish. By meeting this need, brands have an opportunity to ensure that their message is maintained.”
Meanwhile, around 50 world business leaders, politicians and campaigners have called for urgent action on plastic sachets in an open letter to the Government.