Consumers are increasingly saying no to plastic packaging – but they’re not always sure which kind to reject. While the anti-plastics movement is undeniably gaining ground, flexible packaging is trending as well. Which leads many consumers, brand owners and packaging designers to wonder: just how eco-friendly are pouches?
A circle of confusion
“Wait. Aren’t pouches usually marked with that recycling symbol?” We hear you. And we hate to disappoint you – and the majority of consumers, by the way – but the so-called Green Dot
doesn’t indicate recyclability. It merely serves as a trademark for companies who collect, sort and recycle household packaging in general. It doesn’t mean the packaging itself is made of recycled material, and it doesn’t guarantee the packaging will be recycled either.
That said, pouch packaging isn’t entirely without environmental advantages
. What’s more, recycling technologies
dedicated to flexible packaging actually do exist.
The environmental advantages of pouch packaging
Pouches aren’t as detrimental to the environment as the anti-plastics movement would like us to believe. Their low weight
, for one, means less carbon is emitted during transport.
Must-read: Why brand owners love pouches
Recycling plastic pouches
Several recycling systems for plastic pouches exist, including the EllaCycle system
. Established by Ella’s Kitchen (a Hain Celestial subsidiary that teamed up with TerraCycle for the occasion), the EllaCycle system focuses specially on baby food pouches
. It enables parents to responsibly dispose of the pouches by leaving them with charities who in turn send the pouches to the TerraCycle premises.
Time to get into the routine!
While perfectly possible, recycling pouch packaging isn’t a wide-spread custom (yet) because governments and the packaging industry so far haven’t been putting up a united front
. That makes it a costly and cumbersome affair, as the EllaCycle system confirms. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Just like recycling glass jars
and PET bottles
became a worldwide routine slowly but surely, optimists believe it’s only a matter of time before recycling pouch packaging will become common practice. Meanwhile, flexible packaging continues to grow more popular
Inspired by Packaging Gateway