Let’s not take our eyes off the prize

The last few years the can making industry has had a penalty kick in exploiting the market conditions – social media and the mainstream media have communicated what we have known all along, in the fact that plastic packaging is damaging to the environment.

And it’s true we’re benefiting from this – John Hayes, chairman, president and CEO of Ball Corporation, was music to the ears recently. On CNBC, where he discussed how Covid-19 has changed production and demand for aluminium, and how cans remain one of the most sustainable beverage packaging options. Within the coverage he stated how the beverage can sector is expected to grow by 4 – 6% year-on-year up until at least 2025.

However, we know this positivity in relation to plastic won’t last forever. I’ll alert you to a recent news story that I came across which has stated that “Thousands of tonnes of plastic will be turned into new plastic in Britain, rather than dumped in landfill sites, incinerated or sent overseas under plans for four new plants that will use cutting-edge recycling technology”.

The article, featuring in the UK’s The Times newspaper, stated that 130,000 tonnes of plastic a year will be transformed. With government backing, the recyclability of plastic will have big backing and money talks.

The crucial aspect however is in the terminology. The technology will be heated in the absence of oxygen, causing it to decompose into a substance that can be used to build new polymers, the report says. And thus allowing for the process to be potentially “repeated indefinitely”.

That term ‘infinite recyclability’ which has been our trademark over the year is now under threat. Plastic is getting its act together and we as an industry need to take note. The last few years have been an open goal in terms of marketing metal as the ‘go to’ packaging format when it comes to sustainability. However, there will be a fight back, and it’s looking like it is on the agenda.

With that in mind, it’s time to pull the sleeves up and get to work. Consumption is up and the popularity of the can is never better.

We expected the fightback, so it’s game on in the fight for consumer’s expectations as to the best sustainability credentials of packaging.

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