Paul Jenkins of ThePackHub:

Sustainable packaging trends

In this episode of Plastics Revolution, I chat with Paul Jenkins of ThePackHub, a packaging consulting firm based in Banbury, England. 

In this show, we learn more about the sustainability trends that he’s seeing in the consumer packaging space including newer trends that have been prompted recently by Covid-19.  This includes the changes that brands have had to make to online distribution models and hygiene concerns.

I hope you enjoy this episode of Plastics Revolution with Paul Jenkins of ThePackHub.


Hosted by Tammy Ven Dange
Produced by Jonny Puskas
Theme Music by Joseph McDade
All Rights Reserved 2020

Topics from this episode:

  • 0.00 | Intro
  • 2.00 | About ThePackHub
  • 3.39 | Elements of Packaging
  • 4.52 | Considerations of online shopping – functionality and unboxing
  • 7.33 | How did Paul get involved in packaging?
  • 9.09 | 7 sustainable packaging trends
    • Compostable and biogradable packaging
    • Biomaterials
    • Recycling
    • Reusable/refillable
    • Carbon footprint concern
    • Reduce waste
    • Plastic elimination
  • 14.06 | Deep dive into compostable, biodegradable and biomaterials
  • 19.46 | Recycled content taxes in the UK
  • 21.17 | Carbon footprint concerns heading towards more “Local?”
  • 23.15 | Reducing waste
  • 24.41 | Plastic elimination
  • 25.51 | Can kraft paper tubes actually be recycled? Ties back to a previous podcast interview with Jon Williams of Alliance Paper.
  • 27.24 | Future trends impacted by Covid-19
  • 32.52 | Comparison of markets as Australia has flattened the Covid-19 curve more successfully than other places
  • 35.01 | Advice for brand owners
  • 36.20 | How to learn more about ThePackHub.

Quotes from Paul Jenkins in this episode:

“Sustainability is very much the first priority now. That hasn’t always been the case. But in the last couple of years, sustainable packaging and its many forms has been the primary requirement for packaging change.”

“The continual growth of online shopping, which has been accelerated obviously over the last two or three months through Covid-19 restrictions. And of course, the whole shopper behaviour is different in that environment. Consumers or rather shoppers are not selecting products based on how the packaging looks in a supermarket shelf. They’re buying it on a computer screen or a smartphone app. So, the interaction is very different. So, their first moment of truth is when the product is received at home.”

“The e-commerce channel, it certainly has offered some additional opportunities and challenges for brands and retailers, both from a presentation point of view, a protection point of view, but also an environmental one as well”.

“In terms of all packaging trends, the majority of them are of sustainability base. So ThePackHub tracks 10 different trend areas and seven are to do with sustainability.”

“We’re seeing a big increase in the development of compostable or compostable biodegradable solutions over the last two or three years ago. They tend to be from smaller challenger brands than the big players at the moment.”

“Recycling is clearly a huge area of development. And so that is not just improving the recyclability of both products. It’s also increasing the recycled content in those products.”

“We’ve also seen probably the biggest change of all the sustainability trends over the last six to nine months is in terms of reusable and refillable packaging.”

Blue Planet II programme was aired October 2017. And really that set a groundswell of changes and activities with sustainability really being at the centre of all packaging changes.”

“I think if you ask the average person in the street to describe and explain what compostable and biodegradable packaging is, they would struggle.”

“I don’t really think environmentally friendly is a terminology that should be used as liberally as it is. To say that something is sustainable – it’s just more sustainable. It’s not completely sustainable, obviously.”

“The industry has worked hard to reduce the amount of material being used, which has not just environmental benefits, but also sort of cost reduction benefits. And ultimately, really, that was that was the motivation to do these initiatives in the past. But now there is an added environmental incentive to reduce the weight of the packaging.”

“From a sustainability point of view, you need to look at all factors to do with the environment and the impact that your product will have on the environment. You need to be wary of the language you use, and how you communicate what you’re doing.”

Links & Resources

Published by

Tammy Ven Dange

IT Consultant for the Not for Profit Sector | Host of "Executive with a Cause" Podcast

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