Pro Carton, the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard manufacturers, has renewed its call for the waste hierarchy to respond to today’s packaging conundrum, stating that the 3 Rs of recycling (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) don’t accurately reflect or respond to today’s society.
Instead, it recommends ‘5 Rs of Responsibility’, which include implementable steps for consumers, brand owners, retailers, manufacturers and government to help reduce the impact packaging waste has on our environment. Pro Carton’s 5 Rs include the well-known Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, with two additional steps: Renew and Replace. These steps represent a guideline in which society can take responsibility for their actions, reduce the levels of packaging waste created and move towards a true circular economy.
By choosing packaging materials that are truly renewable (with cartons cited as the ultimate example, being made from trees which are in Europe are replanted in far greater numbers than are harvested), brands can improve sustainability and take those all-important steps to achieve the circular economy. There is also a vast range of packaging materials available on the market that are both renewable and sustainable, making replacing non-sustainable and non-recyclable packaging a clear step in the right direction, says Pro Carton. It stresses that brands can replace materials that may damage our surroundings with environmentally-friendly alternatives, without impacting brand equity and on-shelf appeal.
Speaking about the campaign, Tony Hitchin, general manager of Pro Carton, said: “The world has changed and the 3Rs of Recycling don’t fully reflect the actions society needs to be taking to meet the challenges caused by plastic waste. We believe it is the responsibility of consumers and industry to take responsibility and make a conscious decision to mend the damage caused.
“Packaging is an important element of the marketing mix and plays a much wider role than just protecting the product. It is a key promotional tool that can enforce the identity that is inextricably linked to a brand – but it doesn’t need to leave any lasting damage on our planet. Cartonboard as a material is made from renewable resources, is biodegradable and recyclable. It is the natural choice for the packaging industry.”
For more information on the benefits of carton and cartonboard, visit www.procarton.com.