The demand for sustainable packaging in Canada is at an all-time high. More and more consumers have shifted their perspective and are prioritizing sustainable packaging when they shop. In fact, one survey found that 54% of consumers take sustainable packaging into consideration and 58% reported they were “likely” or “very likely” to select products that use recyclable or reusable packaging.
With changing government regulations and increasing consumer demand, the need for sustainable packaging is here to stay. For businesses, that can mean a major shift in sourcing products such as foodservice packaging, straws, disposable cutlery and cleaning supplies, to name a few.
Navigating this new terrain is challenging and often confusing, so we’ve taken steps to help businesses more easily transition to greener product alternatives. One of them was to create and in-house team dedicated to sourcing high quality, sustainable packaging alternatives. Another was to add dedicated Sustainability Category Management Expert, Andrea Teslia, to the Bunzl strategic sourcing team. We talked to Andrea to get her perspective on what it takes to build a sustainable product plan.
Understanding the Facts
While some companies may feel like they’re facing a complete packaging overhaul, Andrea believes that understanding the facts about what will be banned by the government and what consumers have ‘cancelled’ is a critical starting point. Businesses need to balance the need to adhere to new legislation as well as the need to meet consumer preferences and demand. It takes the right technical knowledge to select a packaging solution that not only meets these critical criteria but is also fit for purpose. That’s where Andrea’s team comes in. “Our team sources and assesses products made from materials that are recyclable, third-party certified and have verified sustainability claims. Once these criteria have been met, we move to assessing fit for purpose and cost.”
Building a Sustainable Product Assortment
Creating an easy transition to more sustainable product alternatives must include the foresight to guarantee future ecological viability. “We focus on finding alternatives which are 100% recyclable, compostable or reusable,” explains Andrea. “But it doesn’t stop there. Beyond recyclability, for example, we prioritize products that contain recycled content and are equally affordable, durable and versatile. This results in a much smaller carbon footprint.”
Using Digital Tools for an Eco-friendlier Future
New digital innovations are also important to support the transition to a greener product set. Andrea is close to Bunzl’s SustainABILITY™ Tool, an in-house application designed to identify where the food packaging lands on a sustainable scale. “We’ve developed this tool to help our customers understand the risk that certain products may carry, the timeframe in which they need to be replaced with a sustainable alternative, and the actual product alternatives that will achieve that transition,” explains Andrea. “The Tool is particularly helpful when planning for the various impending Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs, and acts as a filter to show businesses exactly which products they’re using that don’t align with government regulations.”
Ready to evaluate your current plastic packaging and build a more sustainable product plan? Let Andrea and her team help. Contact us to get started today!
Category Manager, Sustainability