The environment may not be in the best shape at the moment, but there are a few positive stories about paper and paper-based packaging.
Right now, there’s no shortage of bad news about the environment: 2023 has been declared as the world’s hottest year on record; global carbon emissions from fossil fuels have reached record levels; and over one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction.
But amid the doom and gloom at the start of 2024, there are some bright spots on the horizon, especially when it comes to paper and paper-based packaging. Here are just a few:
EU Deforestation Regulation
There are a number of huge environmental policy changes and new regulations coming into force in 2024, including Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in the UK and the EU Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR). While EPR is intended to make packaging more recyclable, PPWR pushes for the increased use of reusable packaging.
Meanwhile, the EU deforestation regulation aims to stop the import of commodities and products linked to deforestation. Brought into force in June 2023, the regulation states that importers of commodities such as soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa, coffee and rubber “must be able to prove that the products do not come from recently deforested land or have contributed to forest degradation.”
According to a WWF report from 2021, the EU was the second-biggest importer of products linked to deforestation after China, and was responsible for 16% of deforestation linked to international trade, so the regulation has been hailed groundbreaking by campaigners.
More Plastic Packaging Replaced By Paper
Every week there seems to be more and more stories about food and drink brands switching their packaging from plastic to paper, all accompanied by the amount of tonnes of plastic that will be removed from the waste stream. The latest brands to switch to paper-based packaging are Quaker Oats (200 tonnes), Sainsbury’s mushrooms (775 tonnes) and Walkers Baked crisps (180 tonnes).
The drive towards fully recyclable packaging goes all the way up to the global giants such as Pringles, with the snack brand announcing a 90% paper tube that can be disposed of in home recycling bins. Available at Tesco stores, over 48 million tubes are expected to be sold in the next year alone.
“It is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when manufacturers decide they want to create packaging that is easy for the consumer to recycle,” said Paul Sanderson, CEO of The Recycling Association. “I hope others follow Pringles’ example to help us all get closer to a circular economy.”
The End Of Greenwashing?
There’s an increased focus on greenwashing around the world, with consumers and legislators becoming increasingly aware of companies and organisations using spurious environmental claims to justify moving their customers online for marketing, communications and statements.
Two Sides has been combatting the rise of greenwashing for a number of years, approaching and challenging companies whenever it sees examples of greenwashing. Up to now (January 1st 2024), the organisation has engaged with 2,526 organisations who have made misleading statements about their environmental practices, with 1,126 removing those statements following Two Sides’ intervention.
The latest successes for the campaign include BT, Freemans and the Swiss financial services company SIX, which stated misleading messages about the reduction of carbon emissions linked to receiving bills online. Following Two Sides’ engagement with SIX, the misleading marketing blog has been taken down.
For more information about the Two Sides Anti-Greenwashing campaign, go to: twosides.info/anti-greenwash
To report any instances of greenwashing, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org