• US brands are losing £7.48bn (€10.09bn, $11.40bn) a year due to poor packaging policies
  • None of the 47 companies analysed had adopted best practice in sustainable packaging
  • Strategy towards plastics is particularly poor – only 14% of US plastic packaging is recycled

San Francisco – A new report has found that leading US fast food, beverage and grocery brands are wasting £7.48bn (€10.09bn, $11.40bn) per year due to poor sustainable packaging policies.

The report, released by US environmental organisations As You Sow and the Natural Resources Defense Council, analysed 47 companies, and found that none met the standards for best practice in sustainable packaging. Companies with better practices included Starbucks, McDonald’s, New Belgium Brewing, Coca-Cola, Nestlé Waters NA and PepsiCo.

The report found particular problems around plastic packaging – only 14% is recycled in the US at present. Brands demonstrated little awareness of the problems this causes for the oceans. ‘Plastic packaging is a prime component of marine litter, which kills and injures marine life and poses a potential threat to human health,’ the report noted. The fashion industry has already recognised this in initiatives such as G-Star Raw for the Oceans.

Fast food brands need to be more aware of recycling concerns about black plastic, the report found. Although black plastic is recyclable in theory, many local facilities lack the equipment necessary to process it, and it goes to landfill anyway. The report also warns consumer packaged goods companies away from using flexible plastic pouches, since these are often impossible to recycle.

As consumers demand transparency, brands need to pay more attention to supply-chain issues and implement circular economy principles. For more, attend our forthcoming Spring/Summer 2015 Trend Briefing.




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