Waitrose is one of the UK’s posher supermarkets and it has joined the growing list of retailers trialing new approaches to packaging. Part of the commitment is that by 2023 all Waitrose own brand packaging will be reusable, home compostable or recyclable. And there will be no more black plastic packaging trays for meat and fish by the end of 2019. The initiative is a bit of a reversion to past practise, in that it is based on customers reusing their own bags. Except that this idea extends to customer supplied containers for goods that would otherwise be packaged in plastic.
It’s surprising that there are so few sustainability prizes that award cash, but Ricoh is leading the way, especially in the USA. Cash prizes for sustainability are a brilliant tool for encouragement and for getting sustainability up the agenda, especially amongst the young. The Ricoh Sustainable Development Award (RSDA) has been awarded annually for the last fifteen years, and totals over $430,000 in scholarships for young people. As yet Ricoh makes no such investment into sustainability innovation in the graphics industry, but perhaps they might consider it for young people and for clever environmental impact mitigations in printing and publishing.
There are signs that Circular Economy thinking is gaining traction in the printing business. Since 1997 KLS Pureprint has been striving to become the world’s greenest printing company, with a sustainability ethic based on circular thinking for technology and biology. This strategy has been in place since 1997 and KLS Pureprint is still in business. Certifications to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and Nordic Swan have been part of the progress, and commercial objectives, rather than altruism are driving the strategy.
For graphics businesses looking to satisfy their customers’ eco itches, try CarbonCo’s offsetting programme. This organisation works with the World Land Trust to provide money to buy and protect land vulnerable to deforestation. The World Land Trust has Sir David Attenborough as patron and this year celebrates its 30th birthday.
We’ve come across a rising number of compostable alternatives to plastic of late. The ideas are heading in the right direction, but there needs to be a lot more thought put into how these materials are handled in the waste stream.