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Sustainable Packaging: Unilever Refillable Containers, Tetra Pak Enviro Survey

Tetra pakConsumer demand for environmental products and packaging is on the rise, especially in developing countries, according to research from packaging firm Tetra Pak.

On average, developing countries outscored their developed counterparts in five of six categories in Tetra Pak’s biennial environment survey.

An average of 78 percent of consumers from developing-world countries frequently, sometimes or occasionally purchase products with environmentally friendly packaging. This compares to an average of 71 percent of consumers from developed-world countries.

Similarly, an average of 72 percent of consumers from developing world countries frequently, sometimes or occasionally purchase an environmentally friendly product, even if it cost more. This compares to an average of 55 percent of consumers from developed-world countries, according to the report.

The only metric in which developed-world consumers outscored their developing world counterparts in in recycling. An average of 95 percent of developed-world consumers frequently, sometimes or occasionally sort and set aside packaging for recycling, compared to an average of just 80 percent of developing-world consumers, according to the report.

Tetra Pak attributes the difference in recycling participation rates to access to recycling facilities.

This year’s survey sees a significant rise in the attitude towards renewable materials among food industry stakeholders, driven by the recent development of new technologies, Tetra Pak says. They rank the use of bio-based materials as one of the most important environmental trends shaping the future of beverage packaging.

Meanwhile, consumers continue to rate carton the most “environmentally friendly” packaging type, due to the use of paper as a renewable material, and more than 50 percent of them believe that the use of bio-based plastic will further improve the environmental performance of carton packaging, according to Tetra Pak.

Recent sustainable packaging trends include Unilever’s recognition of ecological concern of urban residents in China and its subsequent release of more products in a refillable format, reports The Dieline. Other drivers for the increase in sustainable packaging include rising fuel prices, which have resulted in lightweighted and concentrated packaging, the web site reports.

In other sustainable packaging news, online retailers can increase their profits by reducing their packaging, reports Business Insider. According to a Carnegie Mellon study, packaging accounts for 22 percent of of an online order’s carbon footprint, says the article sponsored by UPS.

Underwater Audio — a company that sells waterproof iPods and and headphones —  reduced its packaging costs by $6.50 per unit by cutting the amount of packaging shipped with each product. Reusable straw manufacturer GreenPaxx reuses packaging fill from any packaging it receives, upping recycling rates and cutting costs, according to the article.

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