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How FMCG companies are rethinking packaging to become eco-friendly

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Govind Goyal
Govind Goyal
Govind Goyal is the founder of 1984-established consumer goods company Bhaskar Venkatesh Product Private Limited (BVPPL) that is based in Bhopal.

More and more companies are opting for sustainable approaches to packing of FMCG products for e-commerce. Here’s an overview of what’s happening on this front…

In the ever-evolving landscape of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), e-commerce continues to expand rapidly, influenced by changing consumer behaviours and technological advancements. As this sector grows, so does the environmental impact associated with packaging. Today’s consumers are increasingly aware of sustainability issues, prompting FMCG companies to rethink their packaging strategies to minimize ecological footprints.

Several key trends have emerged as companies strive to align with eco-friendly practices.

Key trends

Increased use of recycled materials: There is a growing shift towards using recycled content in packaging materials. This not only reduces the reliance on virgin resources but also helps in managing waste more effectively.

Adoption of lightweight packaging: Companies are opting for lighter packaging options to decrease transportation emissions. Lightweight materials require less energy for transport and result in lower carbon emissions.

Enhanced biodegradability: Biodegradable and compostable packaging solutions are becoming more prevalent. These materials break down more quickly than traditional packaging, reducing landfill waste and improving soil health when composted properly.

Rise in reusable packaging models: Reusable packaging is gaining traction as a method to reduce waste. These systems often involve consumers returning packaging for reuse, significantly cutting down on the need for single-use packaging.

Innovative Approaches

The drive towards sustainability has led to innovative solutions in packaging, particularly in the e-commerce sector of FMCG products. Here are some notable examples:

Paper-based solutions: Companies are increasingly turning to paper-based materials due to their renewable nature and ease of recycling. Advanced technologies have also improved the durability and protective quality of paper packaging, making it suitable for a wider range of products.

Plant-based packaging materials: Innovations include the use of materials derived from plants, such as cornstarch and mushroom mycelium. These materials are not only biodegradable but often offer competitive protective properties.

Edible packaging: While still in early development, edible packaging offers a novel way to reduce waste. This type of packaging is made from natural, often consumable materials that can either be eaten or composted.

Integration of digital technology: Digital technologies, such as QR codes and NFC tags, are being incorporated into packaging. This practice not only enhances the customer experience by providing product information and engaging content but also optimizes the recycling process through better waste sorting.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the shift towards sustainable packaging is underway, several challenges persist:

Cost implications: Sustainable materials can be more expensive than traditional options, posing a barrier for some companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Consumer education and behaviour: Educating consumers about the benefits of sustainable packaging and how to properly dispose of it remains critical. Effective communication and convenient recycling options are essential to ensure compliance.

Supply chain and logistics: Transitioning to sustainable packaging requires adjustments throughout the supply chain, from raw material sourcing to manufacturing processes and logistics.

Despite these challenges, the opportunities for innovation and leadership in sustainable packaging are substantial. Companies that invest in eco-friendly packaging solutions can enhance their brand reputation, meet regulatory requirements, and cater to the growing market of environmentally conscious consumers.

The FMCG sector’s move towards sustainable e-commerce packaging reflects a broader shift in corporate responsibility and consumer expectations.

By embracing innovative packaging solutions and sustainable practices, companies not only contribute to environmental conservation but also build stronger connections with their customers. As this field continues to evolve, the industry will likely see more collaborative efforts and technological advancements, driving forward a new standard in packaging sustainability.

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