Glass bottles, meanwhile, are heavy and expensive to transport, thus increasing the carbon footprint, while consumers remain divided on the potential hygiene implications of reusable bottles.
In examining promising innovation within the consumer goods industry, Cleland pointed to the new beer bottle AB InBev has developed at its Global Innovation and Technology R&D Center in Leuven, Belgium. The lighter bottle is said to cut CO2 emissions by 17% per bottle when compared with its standard longneck beer bottle, which the No. 8 consumer goods company hopes to result in an impactful change given that packaging makes up 50% of its product carbon product footprint on average.
[Infographic: How Tech Fuels the ROI of Sustainability in Consumer Goods]
“Glass was the most preferred material for alcoholic drinks, at 53%, as it tends to signify a premium/quality product,” said Cleland. “Therefore, large drinks manufacturers will be looking for ways to keep using glass while keeping costs low.”
The water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) solution is also being used more in replacement of plastic bags, according to GlobalData, which has the potential to especially help countries without robust recycling infrastructures.
“This also reduces the economic and environmental costs of collecting, sorting, cleaning, and reprocessing plastic waste, which can sometimes outweigh the cost of using virgin materials and discourage companies to partake in recycling.”