It’s still not going away
It seems that our industry is making great strides in communicating the message of the positives of metal packaging. However, there are some outside factors at play that make this societal change from plastic to metal all the more challenging.
I was disappointed to ready in today’s Times newspaper (22 January) that Coca-Cola’s Bea Perez has stated the company’s commitment to single-use plastic, due to the consumer demand still being there for the product, due to its resealable and lightweight properties.
Perez, senior vice-president for sustainability and public affairs, was speaking at the Davos Summit, and commented that rejecting plastic would affect sales. She then noted that a move towards just metal and glass would increase the company’s carbon footprint.
However, there is some questionable logic to Perez’s comments. Yes, the consumer demand is there, but like most things in life, it boils down to money. Let me give you an example. As some of you may know, I’m partial to the odd gin or tonic or two. You can purchase tonic water in plastic for around 50p-£1.15 per litre, depending on your brand of choice. And no, I don’t subscribe to the view that “tonic makes the drink, and the more expensive the better”. Nonsense in my view – ice, slice and a decent gin – the tonic is a mere supporting act. The same quantity of tonic in glass or cans is around two to three times the price in glass or cans.
Now if you go through the level of tonic we do in our household, then it takes a brave person to put your sustainability credentials to one side and purchase glass or cans over the plastic. And that’s the crux of it all – most human beings have it inscribed in them to be price sensitive.
With this in mind, to ensure any noticeable change when it comes to the issue of single-use plastic comes down to price. However, it’s a numbers game and fillers went to keep their options and customers as vast as possible. Until then, it’s all about the price. If customers want plastic, then they’re going to have to pay for it if companies truly are putting sustainability at the forefront of their agenda.
Perhaps this will make for an interesting discussion in the next Candid Forum in New Delhi next month? With this in mind, it’s a pleasure to welcome Marc Hoche, head of sales for CarnaudMetalbox, as the latest panellist for this year’s Candid Forum at CanTech The Grand Tour.
It’s shaping up to being an entertaining and informative Forum.