One of the UK’s leading annual packaging awards showcased some great new ideas this year. Known as the StarPack Awards, they celebrate the best in food and drink packaging design, including special awards for addressing environmental concerns.
Friends of Glass enthusiastically support progress on making packaging more environmentally friendly, but we were surprised at the judges’ comments for one of this year’s Highly Commended winners. The Green Star Environment & Sustainability Award featured a PET jar from the Simply M&S range, with its main green gain being reduction in weight. While we don’t question that less weight means lower carbon emissions, after all, most glass jars and bottles are now 40% lighter than ever before thanks to ‘lightweighting’ techniques, we do ask why no other factors were taken into consideration such as material extraction, processing and recyclability? By focussing on ticking one lower carbon emissions box, other significant ones are being ignored.
What’s more, industry research shows that glass can actually lower your carbon footprint compared to other packaging* and only 4-5% of any form of packaging’s carbon footprint comes from transportation.
It’s good to celebrate progress and the M&S jar is clearly innovative, but please let’s not claim it is the best solution for the environment. Glass not only best preserves the food and drink it contains, helping reduce food waste (which causes dangerous greenhouse gas emissions when sent to landfill) it is 100% recyclable and can be reused over and over again, thus reducing need for new packaging.
Simply M&S range ‘looks like glass’ but is it really better for the environment?
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