Paper is the new Plastic

Paper is the new Plastic

Our world is ever changing for both good and bad. Unfortunately, our environment has been collateral damage for a long time to our evolving world. Now, things like global warming and climate change are at the forefront of some of the many things threatening our world today. However, with this has come a new generation ready to fight off hazardous tendencies to save our environment. This has led to huge demands from consumers and clients for our companies to ‘go green’ to help in the cause of saving our global landscapes. Plastic consumption has been a huge debate in this push for a cleaner way of living and working with its threat of polluting our lands and oceans. Thus, people are ready to start pushing out plastic from our everyday consumption. This is where paper packaging and corrugated cardboard come to the rescue. The paper packaging industry has boomed in this dispute against plastic packaging as it grapples to take its place on the throne. In this struggle for power, Smurfit Kappa, our company of conversation, comes into play.

Smurfit Kappa

Smurfit Kappa is a FTSE 100 company and is a world leader in paper-based packaging, with operations in 23 European countries and 12 countries in the Americas. Whilst being an established company, having been on the scene for 14 years now already, they are a brand that promotes sustainability at its finest, thus making them worthy of its innovative and socially responsible titles. 

With their experience and expertise in the field they are constantly innovating and developing their packaging designs to provide the optimum choice and packaging supplies to fit the demands of their consumers. With schemes in place such as recycling plans, processing over 6.5 million tonnes of recovered paper across the globe, and afforestation strategies, owning approximately 68,000 hectares of forest globally, are just a few of their many ways to stay sustainable in this environmental struggle. 

Better Planet Packaging

However, there’s one initiative they have taken that takes the spotlight of this conversation, and that is their Better Planet Packaging Initiative. This is an initiative they curated to reduce packaging waste by creating more sustainable packaging. This initiative uses their strength in sustainable materials, packaging design, packaging recycling and industry leading expertise to develop more sustainable packaging solutions for their customers, and of course for the planet. This initiative holds three major plans in place in order to successfully achieve their sustainability goal, those being: innovation and design, improved recycling, and inspiration and collaboration. 

Innovation and design

They have been working with customers and other stakeholders to deliver better packaging designs, and are working towards innovating their sustainable solutions. For example, they have created an alternative to shrink wrap which they have named Nor-Grip, they have curated corrugated punnets to replace plastic ones, they have created the ‘bag in box’ which is a container made from corrugated cardboard with a thin plastic bag lining on the interior to contain the liquid, using 60% less plastic, and they have innovated a product which they call ‘Agropaper’ which is a renewable and compostable paper designed to replace plastic for mulching (using a material to preserve and enhance soil fertility and health on a farm). 

Improved Recycling

They play a huge role in collecting used packaging and re-use more than 90% of this material in their closed loop business model. Furthermore, they actively engage with their customers and other stakeholders to increase recycling rates further. Their goal is to remove all avoidable waste from their production system and limit any sent to landfill.  

Inspiration and Collaboration

To achieve success, this initiative requires collaboration to inspire ideas to encourage change. They look to partner with companies across and beyond the packaging industry, knowing the solution needs to be one that takes into consideration many different perspectives and skills. This is where their slogan “BPP (Better Planet Packaging) starts with ME” grows from. With the launch of this almost company mantra, it ensures that they are working towards removing plastics in their daily work life and that their colleagues understand the role they want to play in addressing this global issue, establishing sustainable practices not only in production but also within the company’s workforce. This message also reaches customers, and it serves in changing the very present mentality that our actions as individuals don’t have any effect on the planet. Positive change, even at this scale is needed and should be encouraged, which is exactly what this company is doing. Lasty, they recently ran their first ever Design Challenge open to the public, which is where the initiative image of the plastic waste whale was found, to help harness the power of their global reach to find sustainable solutions in specific areas and to inspire others to push for sustainability.

Therefore, I think it is evident that Smurfit Kappa is an exemplary socially responsible and innovative company in its attempts to replace old and outdated ways with new innovations and modernised approaches. The company listens to the needs of its consumers and thrives for sustainable production to give a helping hand amongst the current global threat of a deteriorating environment in the most forward-thinking way possible.

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