UK Insights: Packaging is as Important as the Product - A Look at Plastic Packaging

Posted by PakTech on Jul 16, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Packaging is often the first point of interaction between a product and a consumer. When purchasing decisions are made in a split second and often triggered by emotions, striking the perfect first impression is key. Design and aesthetics have a huge impact on a consumer’s purchasing decision. Simply put, at the point of sale, a product’s packaging can be just as important as the product.

The sustainability performance of packaging is becoming increasingly influential in driving consumers’ purchasing habits in the UK. Documentaries and campaigns to raise awareness on the consequences of plastic waste has led to a societal reckoning: consumers, businesses and public bodies alike are coming together to tackle the challenges of plastic pollution and climate change. Both the upcoming Plastic Packaging Tax and pledging from major UK brands and businesses to the UK Plastic Pact are indicative of this paradigm shift towards more sustainable packaging solutions. In a similar fashion, consumers’ demands to remove single-use plastic packaging from the market have swept across the UK.

A recent survey about sustainability and consumers has revealed that when compared to other countries surveyed (France and US), UK consumers between the ages of 25 to 54 are the most likely to place higher importance on environmental issues such as using recyclable packaging or reducing the impact of climate change. The same survey also showed that UK consumers were the most likely to place primary responsibility of sustainability with companies.

Such increased environmental consciousness at the societal level has led to brands looking left and right for packaging solutions. One of the responses from the suppliers’ side have been to adopt reusable packaging but as a standalone solution, it is simply not enough. Reusability is just one of the handful of criteria that need to be considered to improve a packaging’s sustainability performance.


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PakTech’s packaging handles standout from the crowd

It goes beyond relying on a single criterion, rather, taking a holistic approach to sustainability by embodying the principles of resource conservation and the circular economy. Not only are PakTech’s handles reusable but by producing handles made from 100% recycled HDPE rather than virgin plastic, it contributes to:

  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 78%;
  • using 90% less energy and 100% less petroleum;
  • strengthening the circular economy, providing second and third lives to material that already exists in the market. (PakTech study)

Other materials perceived to be more sustainable by the end-consumers (e.g. biodegradable plastic) simply do not meet these standards.

Environmental Responsibility and Transparency is Demanded from Both UK Consumers and Public Bodies

While consumers expect companies to take primary responsibility on environmental responsibility, the UK regulatory sphere further obliges companies to improve their sustainability performance. The upcoming UK Plastics Tax incentivises greater use of recycled plastic by businesses by taxing plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled plastic content while the UK Plastics Pact brings together private and public actors to eliminate problematic plastic. Such policy developments have increased scrutiny from consumers to ensure that companies are keeping their promises.

It is now more important than ever for brands to be transparent by providing relevant information directly onto packaging and labelling of products to allow consumers to make informed and sustainable choices. By providing information regarding the recyclability and recycled content of the handles directly on their surface, PakTech already shows customers what they need to know.

Improving Sustainability at the Value-Chain Level Building a circular value chain

The road to finding the best and most circular packaging solution is not always easy. Retailers and value chain suppliers face a dual pressure – they need to choose packaging that is sustainable but can perform their practical functions. And of course, to be sustainable at the value chain level goes beyond just the end-markets opting for sustainable packaging. It requires the involvement of every value chain actor. Here is where again PakTech’s sustainable approach truly embraces the circular economy – by providing a second market for already existing HDPE that then provides post-consumer material available for use by other producers, PakTech is proactive in bridging different actors together to improve sustainability at the value-chain level.


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PakTech – The Packaging Solution that UK Brands are Looking For

To achieve the ambitions of the UK Plastic Pact, companies are faced with difficult decisions when it comes to packaging – from choosing the appropriate material, to designing it with more recycled content and ensuring that it gets appropriately disposed, sorted and recycled.

PakTech handles are the sustainable and practical packaging solutions for UK brands seeking to navigate the increasingly challenging sustainability landscape. As a company, it is transparent about sustainability and in turn allow you to be transparent with your customers.