The topic of environmental sustainability has been a widely reported theme of late, and plastic waste has been at the centre of the controversy.
Marks and Spencer’s sparked much of the recent conversation, with the sale of their ‘cauliflower steak’, which came under fire not only for the cost but also the excessive packaging. The UK Government have already pledged to ban all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.
Going plastic free and making more of an effort to become sustainable is a lifestyle decision that more people are moving towards – but do we really have much choice?
As consumers, we have a responsibility to be considerate about what we buy and how we buy it. Although the food and drink sector is the obvious perpetrator which immediately springs to mind, plastic containers are everywhere we turn.
Some products can be costlier and less convenient, but if you’re dedicated to cutting plastic out of your life, it can be achievable. Buying fruit and vegetables from your local market or farm shop for example, ridding the necessity for the plastic tray and wrapping, is an obvious step. But have you ever considered products such as shampoo? Certain products don’t practically lend themselves to alternative packaging options, making it difficult to be a consumer dedicated to the cause.
These issues and the recent controversy asks the question of businesses to consider how they operate for the good of the environment. It is also becoming an increasing consideration of consumers, with brands trying to cut through the noise in a dense market.
Iceland became the first business to announce their commitment to becoming plastic free, with a vow to eliminate or at least drastically reduce the plastic packaging of its own-label products in the next five years. This is bound to be a trend that will spread across industries, with many other businesses adopting a different mentality towards sustainability and packaging.
Although the questions over sustainability can be a challenge for businesses, it also presents an opportunity, providing brands commit to the change proactively and embrace the need for change.
I for one can’t wait to see the developments in packaging that businesses adopt to meet the changing needs and demands of the typical consumer.