Sustainable packaging is increasingly in the spotlight:
communication about recyclability is growing

In this edition, “Osservatorio Immagino”, edited by GS1, offers a look at the sustainability of Italian products found daily on supermarket shelves.  

Basically half of the 136.686 products surveyed by the “Osservatorio” tells consumers, through the label, how to dispose of the packaging properly after use. This is a growing data, which probably hides a higher percentage of recyclables, but not reporting on the label.  

Also, compared to the previous 12 months, the portion of products sold in non-recyclable packages decreased to 2,3 percent. Proof that FMCG companies’ commitment to recycling is most often effective and concrete.   

The refrigeration department is confirmed as the product segment in which the recyclability of the product on the packaging is mostly notified, with more than 72% incidence on the total number of products surveyed. In second place comes fresh food, which, with an annual leap of +3.8 percent, has reached 61,3 percent, undermining fruit and vegetables, and slipping them to third place with 60,9 percent incidence.  

Personal care, beverages (mainly due to the extensive use of glass) and pet care continue to be distinguished by a low percentage, less than 50 percent, of products that indicate the possibility of packaging recycling on the label. 

The department-weighted share of products reporting recyclable packaging

The composition of the packaging

In many cases, the packaging in which FMCG products are packaged and sold does not consist of a single material but includes several, assembled in a way that ensures convenience of use and the possibility of long and proper storage.   

More than one-third of the labels on which there is a recyclability communication ( representing about half of the total products), are wrapped in a package composed of only one material.   

The remaining 66 percent show multi-material packaging: in 37 percent these are two components. This is followed by packaging made up of three or four different materials (21,5 percent and 5,3 percent, respectively), and the share of products with packaging made by assembling five or more materials is residual (2,4 percent). 


Single-material, cold-resistant and sustainable packaging: possible thanks to ProntoPack cartonboards

Data show how the refrigeration and fresh departments are the most focused on sustainability communication, and there is equally evidence that one-third of packages are composed of only one material.   

Recyclability is of course also possible for multi-product packaging, but obviously 100% carton packaging ranks as one of the greenest and most sustainable choices possible in the landscape of packaging materials.  

In order to create appropriate packaging that is also resistant to cold, cool and wet conditions, there are many tests that are performed on the cartonboard, particularly Cobb’s Test and Wick’s Test for water absorption, as well as Robinson’s Test for food contact. 

Among our cartonboards, which are the best in terms of organoleptic qualities to ensure food contact and just as strong to be positioned as the best choice for frozen or fresh food packaging, we can recommend Metsä Board Prime EB: it is a dispersion coated barrier paperboard with a medium barrier against grease and moisture. It is lightweight and can be recycled in paper or paperboard waste streams according to local recycling schemes. It is made without fluorochemicals and optical brighteners (OBA) making it suitable for direct food contact globally.