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Packaging Your Products for the Circular Economy

The growth of the electronic marketplace will affect how future packaging is designed and constructed — all with sustainability in mind. That’s what a spice and food company told Plastics News at the Packaging Conference in Tampa, Fla.

“I can tell you that packaging today is not designed for the e-commerce of the future,” said Michael Okoroafor, vice president of global sustainability and packaging innovation at McCormick & Co. “As brand owners, we really have to think about how we innovate in the future.

“I’m talking about packaging that is truly sustainable that encourages a circular economy,” said Okoroafor, in the Plastics News piece. Instead of make, use, dispose, the approach needs to be “make, use, renew. You have to make sure you go into something else at the end of your [package] life as opposed to dumping it into the environment.”

The goal, he said in the news piece, is to develop new packaging designs and more robust closures — things that would facilitate the shipping process while remaining sustainable. That is a change from those designed to sell at the retail level from brick and mortar stores.

“It’s a holistic approach. You start from when you are thinking about a new product and a new package comes into place on sustainability. Before, it used to be an afterthought. One thing I can tell you, the era of having sustainability as an afterthought is over. You are going to be a loser if you do that. So you have to rethink how you go right from the onset and incorporate all of the different aspects of sustainability,” Okoroafor told Plastics News.

Such a strategy is not just good for the environment. It’s also good for business. It allows companies to personalize their brands and products, he concluded.

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