The Untruths of Sustainable Packaging - Coley Porter Bell

The Untruths of Sustainable Packaging

Written by: Jenn Szekely, President

An understanding of what we use and leave behind in the world — and how that affects our environment — has been building over many decades. But in more recent years, sustainable actions have been growing rapidly with consumers and businesses, as a result of governments, organisations and global initiatives like COP (Conference of the Parties) looking for people to make more of an impact.

From a consumer perspective, recycling product packaging has been one of the primary focuses for those keen to make a personal impact. But here consumers can only be led by business, and this is where packaging choice and labelling is so crucial.

As the desire and ability to recycle has increased, so too has the confusion around how sustainable, compostable and recyclable people’s packaging waste is. This reached something of a head in May 2023, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said too many misleading claims on packaging are resulting in widespread confusion. This means the famous “chasing arrows” symbol is under the spotlight, with the Biden administration now looking into its use.

There are several factors at play — from the multiple variations of the recycling symbol to the distinction between what can theoretically be recycled with what is commonly recycled. From a design and labelling perspective there needs to be more clarity so that people can better understand these symbols.

Read the full article linked here to learn more.