Predictions for Sustainable Packaging

Tony Kingsbury, Dow Executive-in-Residence in the Sustainable Products & Solutions Program at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, spoke on the topic of Future Predictions for Sustainable Packaging Materials at the Fifth Walmart Sustainable Packaging Conference in Toronto yesterday.

Kingsbury’s seven predictions included:

  1. The most resource efficient packaging – from a system thinking standpoint – will win. In particular, the most carbon and water efficient packages will be the winners in the marketplace.
  2. Functionality will be king. Particularly, this means packaging must protect the contents and not let them go to waste.
  3. ‘Keeping the molecule in play’ will gain momentum.
  4. Reuse of packaging will gain market share.
  5. Biobased, but not necessarily biodegradable, packaging materials will grow in market share. Traditional plastics made from bio-materials, rather than upstarts like PLA, PHA, etc., will dominate the bioplastics packaging market. Composting of packaging materials is an inefficient way to ‘keep the molecule in play’.  The word ‘biodegradable’ should be banned.
  6. Transparency of information about packaging and packaging materials will drive societal full life cycle thinking about packages.
  7. Life cycle data will increasingly drive material decision making.

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