This is a conversation we have with clients all the time. They’re considering a shift to post-consumer recycled (PCR) resin packaging, but they want to make sure they fully understand the pros and cons. What are the challenges? What are the opportunities?
Here are the key issues we discuss and clarify for brands so they can make informed, responsible decisions.
Challenges When Using PCR Resin Packaging
Although recycling is very common, the materials and the facilities to process PCR resin are not as readily available as you might think. The collecting, sorting, and cleaning of PCR resins can sometimes add a considerable amount of cost to the resin when compared to the cost of virgin resins. Additionally, the increased overall demand for PCR can sometimes make a consistent supply of PCR difficult to secure.
Opportunities Created by PCR Packaging
The opportunity is that your product can be produced with no virgin resin, or at least a lower percentage of virgin resin. That means less pollution, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy usage, and reduced overall environmental impact in sourcing and manufacturing. Using PCR resin also means less plastic in landfills.
Despite the complexities and costs, the quality and performance of packaging produced with PCR resins is very close to that of packaging produced with virgin resins. The average consumer would not be able to tell the difference.
Perhaps the greatest opportunity for brands is what PCR packaging says to consumers about your brand. There’s a reason why brands that use recycled packaging promote that fact in their marketing and on the packaging itself.
It shows you’re taking meaningful steps to protect natural resources. It shows you’re listening to consumers who would prefer to buy from brands that practice sustainability.
Recycled resins will continue to play a larger and larger role in future packaging. However, there will always be a place for virgin resins in these applications. In most cases, each brand will have to make a decision based on their own budget, goals, priorities, and values. Our job is to educate, answer questions, and help you make an informed decision.
Of course, if you don’t use recycled material now for your packaging, you probably will at some point in the future.
If you’d like to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by PCR resin, contact us to schedule a consultation.