Packaging that serves an essential function – and so cannot be eliminated through direct elimination – can often be indirectly eliminated by deploying innovative solutions to achieve the required function in a new way, without unintended consequences. There are many innovative ways to provide essential packaging functionalities, including:
Note: High in this instance implies the solution is highly applicable to the plastic type. Medium indicates potential to apply this solution to the relevant plastic type in some cases. Low implies major barriers and, generally speaking, this solution cannot be used in conjunction with the plastic type.
Many examples of successful reuse programs for plastic packaging are currently from outside the U.S. However, more U.S. case studies are emerging and will be included in the future. The following are used for general information and illustrative purposes and do not reflect a preference of or an endorsement by The Recycling Partnership or our affiliates or vendors.
(1) Ellen MacArthur Foundation: Upstream Innovation. A guide to packaging solutions. (Link)
(2) European Economic and Social Committee: Recycling food packaging & food waste in plastics revolution. (Link)
(3) WRAP (2019): Eliminating Problem Plastics. (Link)
(4) Closed Loop Partners, IDEO: Bringing Reusable Packaging Systems to Life. Lessons learned from Testing Reusable Cups. (Link)