Significant Impact of COVID-19 on Eco-Friendly Packaging | Materials & Packaging Industry
COVID-19 Impact on Eco-Friendly Packaging in Materials and Packaging Industry INTRODUCTION Eco-friendly packaging is a kind of environmentally-friendly packaging usually composed of recycled or renewable materials considered sustainable for both individuals and the environment. It is also known as sustainable packaging or green packaging. Eco-friendly packaging can help decrease carbon emissions and create notably limited waste, thereby playing an important role in keeping the planet healthy. There are plenty of alternative packaging solutions that are biodegradable and recyclable such as paper, cardboard, corn starch, bagasse paper, and others. Moreover, some plastics and metals can be recycled, such as PET bottles, milk jugs, shampoo bottles, ice cream tubs, takeaway tubs, plastic utensils, plastic bags, and steel cans. Although, the coronavirus pandemic has introduced different challenges for the economy and businesses across the globe. Lockdowns have strongly impacted the industrial transform processes that have existed for a long time. Impact on demand and decreased investment have caused major disruptions in supply chains and trading patterns in the global eco-friendly packaging market. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, and there is no indication that food itself is a vector of its transmission. However, coronavirus, and measures to control its spread, have had profound implications for packaging, such as food security, nutrition, and food systems. This chaos in supply chains affected mainly packaging food availability in some cases, especially where proper packaging could not reach markets, putting pressure on prices on some scarce goods. UPCOMING FUTURE OF GLOBAL ECO-FRIENDLY PACKAGING MARKET After the COVID-19, the eco-friendly packaging market will increase in upcoming years because eco-friendly packaging development is a global objective that aims to address the societal challenge of climate action, the environment, resource efficiency, and raw materials. In this sense, an essential strategy is the promotion of green packaging, that is, the use of sustainable materials and designs for the packaging of goods. Moreover, the influence of eco-friendly packaging on the industry and purchasers, including the design and materials used in sustainable packaging, its costs, marketing strategies, and corporate social engagement related to green packaging, drives the market. The impact of eco-friendly packaging in waste management, logistics, and supply chain management also contributes to driving the global eco-friendly packaging market. STRATEGIC DECISIONS FOR GLOBAL ECO-FRIENDLY PACKAGING MARKET AFTER COVID-19 TO GAIN COMPETITIVE MARKET SHARE The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world economy but governments, have tried to address and mitigate the challenges of COVID-19 and recover from the economic and social crises. These include eco-friendly recovery measures in their policy packages to address the pandemic's short- and medium-term socio-economic impacts. Few measures were not targeted at green sectors or activities. Nevertheless, they are likely to impact the environmental outcomes positively or negatively. Governments across the globe realize the importance and advantages of eco-friendly packaging. It is considered an opportunity to undertake an extensive and fundamental restructuring of critical sectors and activities to support the transition to low-emission, climate-resilient, and resource-efficient economies in socially inclusive ways. There are several actions taken by governments of some nations, such as the Paris Agreement for sustainable development goals and other international environmental agreements, such as the Aichi biodiversity goal, which will improve the well-being of communities and societies over the near future. On the other hand, the government and eco-friendly packaging industries work together to boost the global eco-friendly packaging market. In Canada, Botanical Paperwork is an example of a company that offers a variety of plan table seed paper goods, including many sustainable, eco-friendly packaging options, that can develop into wildflowers, herbs, and vegetables. Moreover, an eco-friendly California marketing company specializes in customized products that include plantable business cards that come flat or folded with a selection of bulbs. This company’s products are made without harmful chemicals out of a hundred percent recycled materials and printed with vegetable-based inks. IMPACT ON PRICE During coronavirus, the industry has caused a huge shutdown, and sustainable industry stopped their manufacturing products, which negatively impacted the eco-friendly packaging market. Due to this, the shortage has driven prices too high. Millions of people worldwide were infected with COVID-19 disease. Except for the medical supplies and life support products, most industries have been greatly impacted, and the eco-friendly packaging market is no exception to it. There was an increased consumption in health care industries, medical equipment, and hygiene products to protect from the virus. In which eco-friendly packaging had a crucial role to play by packaging these commodities. This has impacted the price significantly. IMPACT ON DEMAND The spread of coronavirus has caused a vast shortage of eco-friendly packaging and, due to shut down in many factories, workers were going back home. The pandemic crisis has already led to some of the sharpest declines in demand for certain types of packaging. At the same time, it accelerated growth for others—such as packaging for e-commerce shipments that are emerging as lifelines in this new world. Such changes are presenting majority packaging companies with a new set of challenges. According to the plastic recycling expert Vanden Recycling UK MD David Wilson, there has been a partial shift in public attitude towards plastic during the pandemic. The world is seeing ongoing demand for plastic packaging and increased use in some areas. That is going hand-in-hand with the ability to recycle packaging and the inclusion of recycled content. There has been no reduction in demand for PET and HDPE for use in plastic bottles, and other polymers are also in demand for other plastic packing applications. Therefore, the need for eco-friendly packages is likely to increase undoubtedly. However, it will continue to face stiff competition from substitute packaging materials. IMPACT ON SUPPLY CHAIN The COVID-19 has adversely affected the supply chain of inputs for many businesses, with lockdown policies affecting the movement of people and business operations such as transportation of goods and others. Since most countries restricted borders due to COVID-19, the volume of exports and imports has reduced and, retailers have found it challenging to deliver their products. On the other hand, the important relationship between packaging and logistics has been observed during the pandemic, and a new idea emerged called ‘Sustainable Packaging Logistics’ (SPL). SPL represents a link between green packaging and green transportation. Because both are eco-friendly, one green transportation comprises those modes of transportation that do not depend on diminishing natural resources like fossil fuels. These transportation modes rely on renewable energy sources. Another one is green packaging uses materials and manufacturing techniques to diminish energy use and reduce the harmful impacts of packaging on the environment. CONCLUSION Eco-friendly packaging, also known as green or sustainable packaging, is an emerging area of interest for scholars, researchers, and practitioners worldwide. It has also been observed that the enthusiasm to acquire eco-friendly packaged products of a significant number of buyers is also reliant on value. Moreover, from the business perspective, it has been witnessed that organizations are being forced to adapt green packaging initiatives due to the societal pressure derived from environmental concerns or customers. Thus, during coronavirus, the government took a highly significant and diplomatic decision by which the situation is expected to improve over the coming years economically. Also, it has created favorable conditions for business activities and, at the same time, has increased the level of preparedness for the crisis in the future.