What is Sustainable Packaging? (Infographic)

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      What is Sustainable Packaging?

      What is Sustainable Packaging?

      Making packaging sustainable is a lot like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube: very difficult, yet possible. Here is the criteria established by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition:

      1. Sustainable packaging is BENEFICIAL, SAFE & HEALTHY for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle

      Sustainable Packaging is beneficial to communities
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      • Create economically viable, closed loop systems for the recovery of packaging materials.
      • Support individuals and communities through the creation of gainful employment, development of recovery infrastructure, conservation of resources, and measurable improvements in environmental performance.
      • Focus on corporate social responsibility, accountability, andequitable wages.

      2. Sustainable packaging MEETS MARKET CRITERIA for performance and cost

      Sustainable packaging is good for business
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      • Improve package design, resource optimization, make informed material selections, design for recovery and source reduction.
      • Educate business colleagues, suppliers, consumers, and regulators.
      • Collaborate across the packaging supply chain and gain experience from other sectors.

      3. Sustainable packaging is SOURCED, MANUFACTURED, TRANSPORTED and RECYCLED using renewable energy

      Sustainable packaging uses renewable energy
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      • Minimize the use of fossil fuels and strive for optimal energy efficiency.
      • Diversify the energy mix through direct use or indirect purchase of renewable energy, carbon credits, or tradable renewable allowances (TRECS).
      • Improve fleet performance through optimized distribution and better fuel efficiency through the use of alternative fuels, hybrid vehicles, and innovative technologies.

      4. Sustainable packaging optimizes the use of RENEWABLE or RECYCLED source materials

      Sustainable packaging optimizes renewables
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      • Optimize the use of bio-based and recycled materials.
      • Source virgin materials from sustainably managed and certified sources.

      5. Sustainable packaging is manufactured using CLEAN PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGIES and best practices

      Sustainable packaging manufactured using clean production technologies
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      • Include voluntary emission reduction or elimination programs, and switch to cleaner technologies.
      • Ensure that production processes meet clean production best practice standards, and meet expectations for responsible manufacturing and worker safety.
      • New approaches and technologies are on the horizon. Advances are being made on closed loop systems and beneficial reuse to eliminate wastes.

      6. Sustainable packaging is made from MATERIALS HEALTHY throughout the life cycle

      Sustainable packaging uses materials healthy throughout lifecycle
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      • All companies should track legislation, material bans, and substances of concern to identify compliance issues and minimize risk.
      • Leading companies have clear restricted substance lists and are identifying alternatives for substances of concern.
      • There is also a need for greater transparency regarding what is in packaging materials and to encourage the optimization of material formulations for human and environmental health.

      7. Sustainable packaging is PHYSICALLY DESIGNED to optimize materials and energy

      Sustainable packaging is physically designed to optimize energy
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      • Develop sustainable design guidelines such as the SPC’s Design Guidelines for Sustainable Packaging, and embed them within product development processes.
      • Packaging designers should keep in mind that optimizing for one parameter may shift the environmental burden to another.
      • Standardization and communication of sustainable design strategies and their adoption by the packaging industry.

      8. Sustainable packaging is effectively RECOVERED and UTILIZED in biological and/or industrial closedloop cycles

      Sustainable packaging is recovered and utilized in biological or closed loop systems
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      • Engineer and manage biological recovery systems to ensure safe and effective recovery of value from biological materials.
      • Engineer recovery systems to recapture the value of man-made packaging materials and to avoid their accumulation in the environment.
      • Safe incineration with energy recovery, waste to energy facilities,and the use of plastic and paper as an alternative fuel are all energy recovery methods.

      This infographic lists the criteria originally developed by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC)

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