Sixty-five percent of decision makers at Fortune 500 consumer product companies view packaging sustainability as a high priority, but are challenged when it comes to determining the relative sustainability advantages of packaging materials. That’s according to an independent research study commissioned by the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), and conducted by MindClick.
The challenge for consumer product firms, according to the study, is the lack of meaningful information available to evaluate and compare the sustainability performance of competitive packaging materials. Packaging executives define sustainability as the way individual materials contribute to the environmental and social story of products and brands. Key contributors to determining sustainability include recycling and the energy required to transport, store, use, and dispose of the packaging. Secondary considerations include the greater societal, environmental, and community impacts related to the materials themselves.
With an emphasis on performance, SMDI has launched a national education campaign to highlight the depth of steel's leadership in meeting the sustainability needs of the packaging industry. As the preferred packaging material for more than 1,500 variations of food, pet food, paint, household, and health and beauty products, steel delivers compelling sustainability solutions to consumer brands, SMDI explains. Steel saves energy, ensures safe, nutritious food, minimizes food waste, and increases economic efficiencies.
Other features of steel to be promoted by SMDI:
• Across all markets, steel is the world’s most recycled material; more than all other materials combined.
• Steel cans are the most recycled food package with a 71% recycling rate.
• Steel food cans are more than 30% lighter than 25 years ago.
"Through the outreach effort, SMDI's Steel Packaging Council will highlight steel's role in meeting the sustainability needs of the packaging industry, while communicating the broader benefits of steel packaging," says Lawrence Kavanagh , president of SMDI. "With its recycling, reusability, and package integrity, steel is clearly the preferred material for the packaging industry, and this campaign will further increase the industry's awareness of these great benefits."
SMDI's steel packaging campaign will continue through 2013 with online education sessions for professionals, industry-wide surveys about steel packaging, and viral videos that share the positive economic, environmental, and social benefits resulting from the use of steel in consumer packaging. The group also will launch an educational Web site and present at future packaging industry events.