A Duty to be Green – Recycle Awareness Week
Posted by Naomi on 15th Jun 2022
It’s all in the Facts!
Consumer waste is a big concern in today’s society. Designing for the future is more crucial than ever with the UK total waste accumulating to 222.2 million tonnes back in 2018, with England responsible for 84% of the UK total  - a terrifying figure! Making an active decision to design with the environment in mind allows us to consider future generations and the health of the planet.
“Stop waste. Stop waste of any kind. Stop wasting energy, stop wasting food, stop wasting plastic and stop wasting time. This is a precious world and each of us can use our actions and our voice to save our planet.” - David Attenborough 
If the majority decides to make small changes such as reducing waste in your everyday life, it can be impactful. According to Gov.UK, provisional figures for 2021 showed that 63.2% of UK packaging waste was recycled, similar to 2020 . Although this statistic shows the UK population considers recycling important, there is still room for improvement.
Retailers and consumers alike are making conscious decisions to source ethically. According to a recent survey by Bulk Bag Reclamation, 42% of consumers said packaging made from recycled or sustainable materials was crucial in their everyday purchase habits. Furthermore, 57% of consumers reported that they are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly packaging .
In reflection to this information, manufacturers should take initiative to accommodate such demands and offer sustainable packaging solutions. Folding box board and cardboard boxes have low ecological impact, however most plastic packaging and Styrofoam loose fill will not biodegrade, and they’re not recyclable. Substituting these materials for greener ones can help eliminate waste contribution to global warming.
What are we doing about it?
Here at Meridian, we understand that we have a vital ecological responsibility as packaging manufacturers and are striving to go beyond our obligated environmental compliance. It’s our duty to discover new ways of being green without sacrificing quality and function. We have made a variety of environmental based decisions in the hope of reducing waste and obtaining ethically sourced materials.
We are proud to be certified FSC® Chain of Custody (FSC® C148074) which recognises our commitment to environmentally and sustainable manufacture of our packaging. This certification tracks ethically sourced timbers, through every stage in the supply chain, to the final user. This is monitored through an invoicing process and a labelling code printed on the packaging which confirms that the item is FSC® certified. Over 82% of our business is based on converting carton board and we could not afford to be apathetic. By buying FSC® certified packaging, you help take care of the world’s forests. Thanks to our FSC® certification, we can offer our customers sustainable bespoke packaging solutions.
We continue to help reduce our carbon footprint by ensuring the majority of manufacturing is UK based and consciously segregate our production waste to manage correct disposal and recyclability. In a pledge to reduce our plastic footprint we have opted to use rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) which is composed of PET material that came from a recycled source rather than the original, unprocessed petrochemical feedstock. Our aim is to remove all PVC materials from production and find compatible machinery to produce our current plastic lines ethically, in the next two years.
We now offer plastic free alternatives including our card slotted cavity dividers which are compatible with all Fold-up boxes, in addition to an eco buffer insert which fits our 24 Day Advent Calendars. The majority of stock folding box board collections are recyclable and/or biodegradable*.
*excluding metallic and foiled boards. Please check product details to confirm.
So, how can we encourage greener choices?
Designing a recyclable product doesn’t mean it will necessarily be recycled. By removing the plastic element from packaging, we are eliminating a material which contributes its carbon footprint majorly and generates a large amount of toxic waste - taking hundreds if not thousands of years to break down. Opting for materials such as folding box boards and corrugated boards – which are both commonly recyclable and biodegradable – are easily disposable and can be regenerated.
Encouraging the reuse of packaging means that its lifespan is extended. This reduces the need for new materials, further lowering its carbon footprint. If the packaging is of good enough quality, it should be able to be reused for things beyond its single use purpose. Quality boxes can double up as general purpose storage boxes. Leftover folding box board can double up as art and craft supplies.
Furthermore, an informed user can take action. By adding fun but informative printed artwork onto packaging, this is a way of informing a consumer of the composition and environmental impact. Yeo Valley Yogurt are the perfect example of adapting their packaging to include their company story and informative disposable instructions. Not only have they established themselves as an environmentally-responsible company, it's improved their overall brand image.
Next time you decide to throw away a piece of packaging, why not make an active decision to be greener.
  https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-waste-data/uk-statistics-on-waste#:~:text=It%20is%20estimated%20that%20the,33.8%20million%20tonnes%20in%202020.