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FLEXO Magazine : Sustainable Fall 2010
Sustainability Get Personal Personal Care Trends Include Going Greener The personal care packaging industry in North America is estimated to be a $70 billion to $80 billion market in 2010, according to the Personal Care Packaging Assessment by PMMI (Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute). Amid package buyers’ top concerns is environmen- tal friendliness. SEGMENT SNAPSHOT Plastic is the most popular packaging material at present, as well as for the foreseeable future, and currently constitutes nearly 60 percent of the primary packaging marketshare. Plastic is also expected to dramatically outpace all other packaging material types in future growth, with a 34 percent growth rate by 2015. Tubes and pouches are expected to grow faster than bottles as primary packaging materials over the next five years. Both tubes and pouches are seen as having a smaller environmental footprint than bottles. Tubes were also noted for easy use and enabling consumption of a greater percent- age of the product packaged. Roughly 60 percent to 65 percent of personal care products used in the U.S . are produced in this country. While many factors were suggested that could increase or decrease this percentage, this amount is expected to stay fairly consistent for the foreseeable future. Shifts in packaging usage will hinge largely on sustainable factors. CHALLENGES Sustainability/Eco-Friendliness. This was a popular topic brought up by many respondents. While there has been talk in the industry about it for years, sustainability is only now begin- ning to be considered in packaging equipment decisions. Most respondents believe that the driving forces propelling the sus- tainability initiative are Walmart and, to a much lesser degree, consumers directly contacting manufacturers about the topic. Many personal care product manufacturers are looking at sustainability holistically and want packaging equipment that has a smaller carbon footprint. Specifically, they want packaging equipment that: 1. Uses less power. 2. Is physically smaller in size and takes up less space. 3. Produces less waste in the manufacturing process 4. Is adaptable to new, “green” material types as they become available. These manufacturers are also making strategic shifts in the kinds of packaging they use. For example, some manufactur- ers are shifting to a greener packaging model by switching some products’ primary package to a permanent, reusable container that would be supplemented with refills that use a minimal amount of packaging. Biodegradable plastic is of strong interest, but much concern abounds as to its viability, and even its practical- ity in application. Many of these plastics are not compatible with certain personal care products. Respondents from other companies doubt whether the materials will be placed in ap- propriate environments to degrade. That makes recycling the most attractive option for sustainability. Other manufacturers are taking an even greater step by manufacturing a high-end reusable container that can be replenished with replacement packs. Respondents report a movement toward more paper over plastic. Service. The primary challenge—and the top concern of respondents in this study—was the level of service that they received from packaging equipment manufacturers. Over- all, respondents were the most emotional when discussing their perspectives on this topic, compared with all other topics queried. Respondents thought the post-delivery service and support of packaging equipment was not smooth enough, beginning Green Opportunities in Personal Care Packaging • Explore ways to make future products with a reduced total carbon footprint for each unit. • Present packaging machinery features and ben- efits from a sustainability standpoint in whitepaper formats. • Help package buyers see the financial savings and increased sales potentials of investing in eco-friendly packaging systems that can help products gain a “green” halo. 16 Sustainable FLEXO FALL 2010 www.flexomag.com