If I Was A Packaging Reseller, I’d Look Very Hard At Biodegradable versus 100% Recyclable
I can always tell when the newest, latest, greatest “packaging opportunity” hits the industry. Packaging resellers are desperate to make deals, grow their business…and what better way than to be a leader in selling biodegradable packaging. I’m not necessarily talking about biodegradable spoons and cups and plates, I’m talking about (in this case) flexible packaging…pouches, bags, stand up bags, rollstock, etc.
To be clear, we (our firm) are all for helping the environment, and we sell biodegradable packaging, but there are considerable obstacles that you need to be aware of. The attached graphic is from Mogo in the UK so props to them…but here are some issues you need to be aware of (and so does your customer).
- The additives used to make products biodegrade can come from some natural sources…but often time from synthetic chemicals…and those chemicals can cause damage to the soil, among other things.
- The coatings for packaging for barrier properties…how safe are they? Do you know?
- What are the natural fibers used to make the compound ingredients to produce the packaging material itself?
- Who is going to actually collect and biodegrade these?
- Home compostable or industrial compostable?
- How many of your customers will really home compost?
- Cost…20-30-40% more expensive
- Side Note…for the lazy…littering isn’t a way to allow packaging to biodegrade (many believe this)
Despite what special interest groups (that’s YOU Greenpeace) are PAID (you read that correctly) to tell you, plastic is not the scourge of the world. In fact, studies have shown that plastic can actually be a large part of “the solution” and if I Was A Packaging Reseller, I ‘d follow what the Big Boys are doing. Forget what I’m saying…look at Cadbury, Pepsi, and Nike.
To be clear, we are not talking about blue shopping bags either. We are talking about multi-layer pouches, stand up bags, even spouted pouches for liquids (hot fill too). Barrier protection, incredible print quality, without using chemicals and additives (like biodegradable materials). Just look at pictures below (courtesy of Plastic Technology).
If there is anything the plastic industry has failed miserably at, it is creating awareness of advancements in the plastic industry (whereas paper and other non-plastic industries continue to promote how great their products are…incorrectly… but John Q Public doesn’t know any better).
If I Was A Packaging Reseller…I would learn all I could about 100% Recyclable plastic…not laminated R7 plastic but 100% Recyclable. Why? Because it would give you an advantage…you’d have a different “story” to tell, you could use this info to get past/beyond the “Betty the Buyer—Clerk” to a real decision maker and real person who could make changes and try new things. (Betty the Buyer-Clerk—is NOT that person).
All the big players…Dow, Sabic, ExxonMobil are fully invested in 100% Recyclable plastics.
Potential Problems with 100% Recyclable Plastics in US
- Very few in industry know about them…(and even the perception when talking about them is the blue shopping bag)
- Still have to teach Recycling to the 81% of US population that litter intentionally (pathetic)
- Not all companies are up to speed with this technology…very, very new…but LOOK at the potential!
- Poor PR and even Sales efforts…unlike the paper/wood markets who have no problem spending money and hiring PAC (Political Action Committees) to represent their best interests.
- Very few high caliber Sales people who know about this…and know how to explain it against the “marketing/PR machine” of the paper/wood industry and even biodegradable-compostable materials.
However, if you (Packaging Reseller) want to be different, stand out and get in doors that were once closed and locked…I’d do all I could to learn the differences and advantages and disadvantages of both Biodegradable/Compostable and 100% Recyclable materials. At a time when Packaging Resellers are desperately needed to engage/teach/educate, the future for us is very, very bright.