The study, which was commissioned by material technologies business Aquapak, found that 85% of European packaging businesses now have a plan in place to embrace the circular economy, with 21% set to be fully circular within three years.
A further 47% expect to reach circularity within five years, while 11% have no plan in place at this point.
Pending European Commission legislation
The moves come amid progress towards the revised European Commission Packaging and Packaging and Packaging Regulation (PPWR), which should have a major impact on the packaging sector.
However, only a fifth of businesses surveyed are acting prior to the legislation’s implementation, with almost half stating that they would act once it is in place.
The European Parliament defines the circular economy as “a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.”
Therefore, firms that successfully implement a circular economy strategy will reduce waste “to a minimum”, creating further value down the line.
Circular economy support
Aquapak chief executive Mark Lapping believes the findings show the extent to which the industry is “embracing the circular economy”.
“At Aquapak, we are supporting this goal by helping our customers use the world’s resources more effectively by reducing waste and increasing the reuse of valuable materials as part of the circular economy through new technologies which provide the functionality needed to protect products, whilst reducing the impact on the environment,” Lapping added.
This support will likely come at a cost though, with 62% of responders revealing that they expect their company to increase its budget for sustainable packaging materials over the next half decade. A further 23% project budgets to increase dramatically.
In related news, a new Bord Bia insights report has shown that more than 60% of UK shoppers lack trust in carbon footprint labelling.