It's time for eco-design of packaging!

If there is one issue that has taken all of its time to be picked up by media radars, it is the environmental dimension surrounding the packaging. However, there has been a click in the past two years and now not a day goes by without the packaging being the subject of public criticism. The context has never been more favorable to encourage manufacturing companies and food processors to review the design of their packaging in order to minimize their environmental impact. | By Mario Patenaude, Advisor, Ecodesign and Circular Economy, Éco Entreprises Québec

Ecodesign - which aims to better think of packaging by reflecting on all stages of their life cycle - is an approach that brings together a universe of possibilities. But before embarking on such a process, it is important to realize that you will have to take into account several parameters. What are they ?

In addition to responding to the multiple functions of packaging, ecodesign aims to minimize environmental and social impacts over its entire life cycle, which includes the following elements:

Materials and supply:
• Impacts linked to the extraction of raw materials and the exploitation of materials: energy and water used, distance from extraction and processing places, waste, scarcity of the material, working conditions, etc.

• Opportunity to minimize environmental and social impacts as much as possible: choice of better materials and optimized formats, improvement in use, etc.

• Manufacturing-related impacts: energy and water used, discharges, recycled content, etc.

• Impacts related to distribution and transport: chosen modes of transport, weight and volume of packaging, optimal palletization plan (loading per cubic foot), distance traveled, eco-driving, etc.

Communication :
• Impacts linked to marketing: choice of secondary and tertiary packaging, choice of product presentation, reusable packaging, etc.

• Impacts related to purchasing: modes of transport used, environmental communication, recycling instructions, certifications, traceability, etc.

The user experience:
• Impacts related to consumption and use: handling and use of packaging, packaging to avoid product loss and waste, recycling gesture, etc.

End of life:
• Reuse, recovery, recycling, composting, reusable packaging, etc.

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