IP: There has been a lot of debate about reusable versus single-use packaging and which of the two is better for the environment. What is Pro Carton’s position on this?
WM: As a European association representing the carton and cartonboard industry, we firmly believe in a combination of the two packaging systems. There are different requirements for take-out and in-house consumption, for city and out-of-city locations. While reusable packaging has its purpose, there is no “one size fits all”. Both solutions can complement each other to unlock the low carbon packaging circular economy in line with the ambitious EU Green Deal targets.
And, depending on the usage occasion, both variations come with their own benefits. Whilst reusable packaging reduces the overall amount of waste generated, helping to minimise resource consumption and waste generation throughout the packaging lifecycle, single-use packaging on the other hand can provide convenience and protection, as well as being lightweight and efficiently manufactured, therefore reducing energy and resource consumption during production and transportation.
However, a recent German Consumer Survey that we conducted shows a preference for single use cartonboard materials over reusable packaging, where, in a fast-food setting, 61% of German consumers prefer to dispose of their packaging for recycling, compared to 39% who would choose to store, rinse and return reusable plastic packaging to a collection point.
We believe in using scientific Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) studies as an appropriate tool to decide on the best match for the respective solutions. It allows us to trust in the entrepreneurial thinking of business owners and packaging material suppliers, who together, are driving innovations in both single-use and re-use materials.