In the packaging industry, sustainability is an incredibly important practice. Sourcing materials responsibly, producing to reduce and reuse waste, and transporting goods by means of renewable energy can make a big difference to a company’s impact on the environment. Saving energy and resources can even save your company valuable time and money.
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) is a major voice in the world of sustainability. Headed by GreenBlue (a nonprofit focused on product sustainability), the SPC aims “…to build packaging systems that encourage economic prosperity and a sustainable flow of materials.” They hold ongoing discussions on the many facets of environmental health, offer guidelines for renewable design, and educate developers and consumers on what resources and tools are available to them in order to contribute to a healthier world.
The SPC has played a large role in defining what exactly sustainable packaging even is–according to their page, “[the SPC’s Definition of Sustainable Packaging] has been widely adopted throughout the packaging industry.” This definition states that sustainable packaging:
- Is beneficial, safe & healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle
- Meets market criteria for performance and cost
- Is sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy
- Optimizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials
- Is manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices
- Is made from materials healthy throughout the life cycle
- Is physically designed to optimize materials and energy
- Is effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial closed loop cycles
The SPC’s big vision is to create a “…closed loop system for all packaging.” Ecologists define a closed loop as a system “…that does not exchange matter with the outside world.” Where materials and energy would otherwise be thrown away and wasted, a closed loop system would look to repurpose them. Systems approaching a closed loop don’t just benefit the environment: they also save money in production. Energy and materials that can be repurposed instead of wasted should be seen as an opportunity to save the environment, time, resources, and money.