WASHINGTON, DC — Packaging changes by food and consumer product companies have avoided 1.5 billion pounds of packaging in the past decade, and are expected to avoid an additional 2.5 billion pounds in the coming 10 years.
One survey, by McKinsey & Company, found that 19 companies avoided 1.5 billion pounds of material from 2005 to 2010 by implementing more than 180 projects and changes.
Efforts by the companies, which represent $225 billion in yearly sales in the U.S., range among a sauce maker switching to 100 percent post-consumer recycled glass, a canned food company eliminating 700,000 pounds of PVC and shipping 25 percent more products on trucks due to packaging redesigns, and a consumer goods company replacing almost all of its shipping cartons with ones made entirely of post-consumer recycled material.
As one would expect, most reductions have occurred in plastic and paper, with companies cutting out 800 million pounds of plastic and 500 million pounds of paper since 2005. And changes are being done across all product categories, with no one category sticking out as making the biggest dent in material use.
The second survey, which asked for companies' plans from 2011-2020 and was conducted by Georgetown Economic Services, found than 21 companies with $200 billion in annual U.S. sales plan to avoid 2.5 billion pounds of packaging material.
Fourteen companies had responded to both surveys.
The report, "Reducing Our Footprint: The Food, Beverage and Consumer Products Industry's Progress in Sustainable Packaging," is available here.
Grocery aisle - CC license by Anthony Albright