Keeping our planet a little greener is growing concern amongst consumers these days. Landfills are growing by the day at unnecessary rates, as our product consumption grows higher by the minute. The more product that is purchased, the more protective packaging that ends up in the trash.
Shouldn’t we be a bit more responsible in terms of helping our planet?
Apparently Kraft customers think so.
Kraft has recently felt some heat from its customers considering its protective packaging waste—specifically waste that stems from their popular Capri Sun drink. The drink symbolizes protective packaging that can’t be easily recycled, and customers are pressuring Kraft to make a change.
Feeling The Heat
Behind the push stands the Make it, Take it campaign. Make it, Take it is a campaign that strongly influences (read: pressures) big brands into offering environmentally friendly packaging. They list some pretty compelling waste-related data from product packaging on their website, such as:
- Less than 50 percent of protective packaging is recycled
- US recycling rates have not exceeded 34 percent
- Eco friendly packaging waste adds up to $11.4 billion dollars per year
So, the Make it, Take it campaign surely has consumers’ attention. But does it have Kraft’s?
What Kraft Should do Next
Kraft should explore its options for environmentally friendly packaging instead of burying their head in the sand. It’s hard to wrap your head around how many old Capri Sun drinks are floating around at the dump, and the numbers are likely mind blowing.
In fact, the Make it, Take it campaign suggests that only 2% of Capri Sun pouches are estimated to be recycled. Capri Sun was introduced in the 1970s, so we can only imagine the pileup that has occurred in our landfills.
If you’re looking for a visual, Packworld suggests that there’s enough Capri Sun waste to wrap around the earth 5 times. That’s a staggering 121,527 miles of Capri Sun pouches.
We can’t afford to continue manufacturing non-recyclable protective packaging at such an aggressive rate. There’s only so much room at the landfill, and customers only have so much patience.
How Kraft Can Satisfy The Environmentally Conscious Customer
Packaging has surely evolved since the 1970s when Capri Sun was introduced. But the first step for Kraft is investigating environmentally friendly packaging options at hand.
Flexible retail packaging is a recyclable option that may be able to fit the needs of both Kraft and their customers. The laminate material that’s used to compose flexible retail packaging enables it to be broken down into regrind.
Regrind is one of the important keys for environmentally friendly packaging. The after product is regrind, which is used to produce other useful plastic-based items such as plastic lumber, kid’s toys, park benches, and even parking lot bumpers instead of sitting around in the dump.
This sure beats the strategy of drink, toss, repeat.
Showing an effort to change the packaging formula for Capri Sun is a good starting point. Or, if Kraft believes that they are in the right, release a case study to defend the current packaging strategy for Capri Sun.
But we all know that ignoring the issue of non-recyclable product packaging isn’t going to get us anywhere.
Breaking The Taste and Toss Cycle
Kraft can move forward with its recyclability issues by considering the materials it uses to construct Capri Sun pouches. We may not have reached a level where flexible retail packaging is biodegradable, but it can be recycled, and that’s a step in the right direction.
Flexible retail packaging may not be biodegradable, but you’d be surprised at how much waste does not actually biodegrade. And that goes for waste that’s even marked as biodegradable.
The reason behind this is because waste requires specific conditions in order to biodegrade—mostly sunlight, air, and water. Given that waste typically piles into mounds in the landfills, some products won’t get the opportunity to biodegrade at all.
However, this shouldn’t be an excuse to opt out of environmentally friendly packaging. That goes for Kraft and everyone else.
What Kraft (And You) Have to Gain by Using Environmentally Friendly Packaging
It’s obvious that the plus side of opting for environmentally friendly packaging is helping the environment. That’s the whole point. But there’s more to gain than a cleaner environment.
By offering recyclable packaging products, you can experience:
Adding more credibility for your brand. You’ll be more respected in the eyes of your customer because you cared to make a difference. Credibility really isn’t something that can be bought; it’s an element that’s achieved from putting your best foot forward in the eyes of your customer.
Potential recognition. Perhaps recyclable packaging is not yet mainstream in your niche. While your competitors are contributing to the country’s landfills, you can put a twist to your packaging strategy with recyclable packaging. This can easily get you some recognition for being innovative in your field, especially on social media and amongst customers.
Seems like a fair tradeoff for an attempt to clean up the environment.
Feel good about your choices. You can wake up every day knowing that you’re not contributing to the overabundance of waste that comes in the trash week after week.
Everyone needs something to feel good about, right?
The Choice is Yours
Whether you’re ready to take the step toward environmentally friendly packaging or not, it’s hard to deny that the waste situation needs to be addressed. However, the situation truly is a two-way street. We can offer recyclable packaging until we’re blue in the face, but our customers need to be encouraged to recycle rather than dump our packaging in the trashcan.
So let’s work together to make the world a little greener with one stand up pouch at a time.