There is much talk about the Circular Economy, a concept that despite being used for a short time is already on everyone’s lips. The future of packaging seems doomed to this concept and another that is increasingly used, that of “the three Rs”.
But, what is this about the circular economy? What is the importance and what does that of the three R’s mean? What advantages does the change bring?
The European Union produces more than 2,500 million tons of waste per year and each Spanish people generates 460 kilos of that total per year. The process of generating waste has been constantly increased by the pressure of a market that makes us replace what suffers any deterioration without even attempting to repair it and, worst of all, that we do it without thinking about its impact on the environment and without follow a reasonable guideline for disposal.
The circular economy is a production and consumption model that implies respecting “the three Rs”: Reuse, Repair and Recycle existing materials and products as many times as possible to create added value. In this way, the life cycle of the products is extended.
In practice, it means reducing waste to the absolute minimum. When a product reaches the end of its life, its materials are kept within the economy whenever possible. These can be used productively over and over again, thus creating additional value and reducing waste on the one hand and the use of increasingly scarce raw materials on the other.
It contrasts with the traditional linear economic model, based mainly on the “use and throw away” concept, which requires large amounts of cheap and easily accessible materials and energy. Also included in this concept is planned obsolescence against which increasingly restrictive regulations are being dictated.
The packaging model has evolved guided by the priorities of the user, who is increasingly aware, informed and more demanding. The vast majority of consumers (60% according to various studies) choose a product for its packaging and its sustainability is increasingly important. Both the volume of the packaging and its origin and its possibility of reuse, its ability to be recycled are valued.
The use of sustainable materials in all manufacturing and distribution processes is moving towards promoting reuse and recycling. In the framework of the circular economy, packaging is increasingly important.
As a consequence, among other factors, also from COVID-19, new social and consumer habits have been created or consolidated. Confinement has made us take advantage of all the resources at our disposal and has reinforced the concept of the circular economy.
The mission of packaging is to make life easier for us, but also to allow it to last over time.
At BELCA we work with one-component materials and biodegradable films that can be adapted to production processes. Our technical and commercial team is prepared to advise our clients on how to implement in their production processes the changes that consumers ask for, which, after all, are the ones that dictate which products prosper and which do not.