Black Friday has well and truly cemented itself as the key date in the UK retail calendar. A whopping £1.4bn was spent on online sales in the UK on Black Friday last year – up by 11.7% on last year. We think it’s great that the economy is in such a strong position, but there’s one issue that we can’t ignore: A lot of packages means a lot of packaging.
With millions upon millions of transactions set to go through the big online retailers later this week, just how much excessive plastic and cardboard will we see delivered to UK homes in the days following Black Friday? Customers bagging a bargain in the sales can expect their purchases to be well packaged, but if past form is anything to go by, some may be a little too well packaged.
Many of us will have ordered items online only to see them arrive in an excessive amount of cardboard and plastic. We have all seen examples of a shoebox-sized package for a USB stick or a HDMI cable.
The issue has got so bad that the government could introduce new taxes on retailers using large amounts of cardboard, as part of the Resources and Waste Strategy. While retailers currently pay towards collection and recycling of the cardboard waste they produce through the Packaging Recycling Obligation system, councils spend millions of pounds annually for collection and recycling – and they say it’s not fair.
At Law Print, we are always on the lookout for new ways our packaging solutions can contribute to a circular economy where possible, using flexible plastics in order to save space on lorries and shelves. We are launching a fantastic new 100% recyclable range, with innovative materials that still allow for high quality printing techniques for our customers’ premium brands.
Our range includes the new generation of woven BOPP bags which are made using only one material (PP = polypropylene), meaning they are 100% recyclable. The majority of plastic currently used in packaging is notoriously difficult to recycle due to multi-layered films and complex structures. Thanks to the mono film structure, our BOPP bags can be recycled at the end of use.
It’s because of the steps we have taken in packaging sustainability that we feel we are in a position to question the big retailers’ approach to packaging. In fact, we’ve voiced our views on this subject before.
Amazon, the world’s biggest retailer, has said it has made efforts to reduce the amount of packaging it uses. A spokesman said: “We have introduced a number of sustainable packaging initiatives, like Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging, which promotes easy-to-open, 100% recyclable packaging and lets us ship products in their own packages without additional boxes.
“Over the past 10 years, we have eliminated more than 244,000 tons of packaging materials, avoiding the use of 500 million shipping boxes.”
Even if we are inundated with unnecessary packaging by big online retailers, we as consumers must remember that we all have a responsibility to make sure our plastic and cardboard is being recycled where possible. If you are unsure, or need to locate your closest waste management facility, click here.
Get in touch on social media @LawPrintPack or www.lawprintpack.co.uk