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When the negative messaging around packaging becomes too heavy, taking a lighthearted look at the positive things that packaging has brought to bear can provide welcome relief.

If you, like me, have been keeping an eye on how packaging features in the press of late, you will have noticed that on most mass media platforms there’s still no letting up on the negative messaging. It’s mostly about plastic packaging and the attendant challenges around our ‘waste exports’ and creating a closed loop recycling infrastructure across all materials.

 

Now, I’m not for one moment suggesting these aren’t all real challenges, nor that the path towards meeting our 2025 National Packaging Targets won’t be peppered with obstacles, but I feel compelled to repeat what I’ve said many times before: There are so many good news stories in packaging that need to be given airtime in the broader public domain.

What’s stopping us?

 

As an industry, we’re pretty good at preaching to the converted – sharing our innovation and sustainability successes, and bestowing recognition on the people and companies behind these in the shape of awards and trade media coverage. In the latest print issue of PKN, for instance, we report on Coca-Cola Amatil’s Australian-first 100 per cent recycled content beverage bottle (page 7); and Tetra Pak’s New Zealand project that will see drinks cartons turned into decking material (page 8), to name just two.

 

Yes, we’re doing a lot as an industry to move forward, and should give due recognition to the many organisations pulling out all the stops in the reduce-reuse-recycle challenge.

 

But let’s look back and ask, “What about some of the amazing things packaging has done until now to improve quality of life, boost product safety, and prevent waste?”

 

Which leads me to consider what packaging innovation has come about in my lifetime and – with apologies to Julie Andrews, who included ‘brown paper packaging tied up with string’ in her list – to write down a ‘few of my favourite things’. So here is a lighthearted celebration of packaging (it helps if you have the tune in your head when you read this)...

 

Child locks on closures

and flip-tops on bottles

Pouches with zip locks

and foil seals on pottles

Screw caps on wine,

and cans with ‘pull rings’

These are a few of my favourite things...

 

Tear strips on snack packs
you eat on the go

Packs that can heat food up
fast or up slow

Salad in bags

and cucumbers in cling

These are a few of my favourite things...

 

Food lids that reseal

and cartons shelf stable

Tablets in blisters

with smart-coded labels

Bubble wrapped parcels the
old postie brings

These are a few of my favourite things...

 

When the press hounds

When the news stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favourite things

And then I don’t feel so bad.

 

I could go on... but instead I invite you to share your favourite packaging things with me – Julie and I look forward to it.

 

e: lindyhughson@yaffa.com.au

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