28 November 2023
by Alex Brinded

Returnable packaging could replace single-use

Returnable packaging could compete with single-use packaging, finds the Ellen Macarthur Foundation.

© Zuzanna Szczepa┼äska / Unsplash

Returnable packaging could bring significant environmental benefits, and once scaled up, compete with single-use packaging for certain products, according to the report from the circular economy charity.

Unlocking a reuse revolution concludes that, in the most ambitious scenario, returnable plastic packaging could lower greenhouse gas emissions and water use by 35-70% compared with single-use plastics.

The report focuses on adopting resuable plastic packaging for selected beverage, food cupboard, personal care and fresh food items when designed across the industry and working at scale.

The foundation says that more than 60 organisations were involved in developing the report, including the European Investment Bank, Nestle, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever.

Recent findings in the Foundation’s Global Commitment Five Years In publication suggest that, without a significant shift towards reuse, worldwide virgin plastic use in packaging is unlikely to decrease below today’s levels before 2050. It identified the scaling of reuse as one of the key hurdles to overcome in reversing the tide on plastic waste and pollution.


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Alex Brinded

Staff Writer