Unpacking the argument for reusable packaging with help from the Waste Hierarchy.
The waste hierarchy describes the best through to worst use of materials. We’ll just look at it as it relates to food packaging.
- Prevention is the most preferred option and it’s about completely avoiding or reducing the use of raw materials that will become waste. At a cafe, the use of single-use packaging can be prevented by dining in or bringing your own reusable KeepCup or food containers.
- Reuse comes in close behind and describes materials and products which retain value and usefulness for a period of time. SammyBags fall into this category as they have the ability to be washed and reused over a period of years.
- Recycling is when the materials are able to be converted back into something useful at the end of life. When it comes to single-use food packaging, if grease or food residues are present, they contaminate the recycling stream and are unable to be recycled and diverted to landfill. Recycling is also a very energy intensive process and often results in more energy being spent when compared to producing new products.
- Recovery describes when value (energy or raw resources) is able to be recovered from materials considered as waste. For example the incineration of waste produces heat which can be captured thereby recovering energy. The other options here include: anaerobic, gasification and pyrolysis.
- Disposal is when waste after the other four steps still remain and is sent to landfill. This the least preferred option, however it is also where packaging with food residues or PLA and PFAS coated food packaging ends up.
So in summary you can see how single use packaging is a linear product categorised by the Cradle-to-Grave product lifecycle. As we move towards a more circular economy we need to Rethink and Design Out our dependance on single use packaging which ends up in landfill. We believe SammyBags products are a good example of this, as they last years – not minutes, raising the bar of effectiveness and longevity.
SammyBags makes packaging reusable.
David, Sammy & Pieta – The SammyBags Team.