Circular packaging is a huge trend right now. But when is packaging actually circular?

06.08.2019

Diana Seijs, Senior Consultant Sustainability shares her insights.

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Bilfinger Tebodin Circular production

When is packaging circular?


'Circular packaging extends beyond simple recycling and reuse. It is also about the use of safe materials, clean water, renewable energy, and social justice. When companies start working with the right criteria, packaging can truly become circular. The Cradle to Cradle concept offers concrete tools and assessment methods for developing circular products. You can’t declare that you have gone circular without utilizing appropriate metrics.'


What about the safety of materials?


'It is good as long as we're constantly conducting analyses and using all the knowledge that we've accumulated. The use of asbestos is an example of how important this is in a different sector. That was a fantastic material at the time because it was fireproof. However, we now know that we never should have opted to use it. It is important that we establish whether the materials we use are actually safe for people and the environment. This includes antimony, which is used in the production of PET bottles. It is a harmful substance that can get into the water if the bottle is reused. All the knowledge that we have gathered over the years must be used to make today's choices for materials.'


Where does the business world stand in terms of sustainable and circular packaging?


'In recent years, the number of applications for Cradle to Cradle certification has increased. This indicates that more and more companies are working on it. That not only applies to packaging, but also to other sectors such as fashion and health products. A company that sets a good example is Dopper. Their water bottle is the first to be Cradle to Cradle certified. However, more attention should be paid to Cradle to Cradle. Everyone understands the circular economy. It operates more or less at the surface level and fits into our existing economy. However, you have to view circular economy as a house and Cradle to Cradle as the foundation.'

 

For more information, feel free to contact Diana Seijs, Senior Consultant Sustainability, +31 6 23 45 58 12, diana.seijs@bilfinger.com