In part four of our Connect to Nature series, we look at how digital technology can help close the loop on packaging and drive true sustainability

So far in our Connect to Nature series, we’ve looked at how connecting packaging can help supply chains become more sustainable and efficient and lead to greater brand engagement with conscious consumers. But to really make a long-term sustainable impact, brands need to consider what happens at the end of a packaged product’s life as well as how it was sourced and made. The question then is how can connected packaging help close the loop on packaging?

Recapturing materials

All SIG carton packaging is fully recyclable since all the materials we use can be recovered and reused. But while our packs are easy to recycle, we know that motivating and activating consumers to do so is the real issue. After all, one of the key principles of a circular economy is being able to recapture materials after consumption and effectively bring them back into the sourcing and manufacturing ecosystem.

SIG is active in a range of local initiatives to improve recycling infrastructure and consumer awareness, but to drive recycling on a global scale, connected packaging looks set to play a critical role in the future. Because with digitally-enabled packaging, consumers can not only access more information about recycling materials and processes but be offered the right incentives and even rewards to do so.  

Rewarding recycling

Mass-scale consumer adoption of recycling is now a major goal for everyone from governments and councils to brands and retailers. But if recycling isn’t a simple or instantly gratifying experience for consumers then uptake can only go so far. It explains perhaps why just 9% of the world’s plastic is currently recycled and why recycling systems need to be more accessible, effective and ultimately attractive.

With connected packaging, consumers can access information on sourcing, materials and quality, while it also has the potential to help consumers understand how to sort and recycle their rubbish, and where to find local collection points. In the future, consumers could even receive points when they recycle via smart bins that scan individual pack codes. These points could then be used to redeem discounts and offers on future product purchases.  

Making good choices

In this series, we’ve seen that there’s clearly a large and growing number of consumers who care about the environment and want to make a more positive impact. It therefore stands to reason that recycling should be made as simple as possible and rewarding for consumers – ultimately helping them feel good about their choices. 

Many awareness and incentive schemes powered by digital technology are already in place or being piloted around the world. They show that if governments, brands and companies like SIG can come together to share technologies, resources and experiences, we can all help change consumer behaviours for the better.

Look out for part five of the Connect to Nature series when we’ll recap all the stories so far and take a look at what the future holds for connected packaging and sustainability.

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