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Pro Carton launches the "5 Rs of Responsibility" concept to combat waste in the packaging sector

Pro Carton, the European association of carton and box manufacturers, today called for the "3Rs of Recycling" concept to be updated with a waste hierarchy to meet today's packaging challenges. Its concept of " 5 R de la Responsabilité "includes actions to be taken by consumers, brand owners, retailers, manufacturers and government authorities to help reduce the impact of packaging waste on our environment.

The 5 R's of Pro Carton include the well-known concepts of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle but the association believes that two new stages should be added: Renewand Replace. These steps represent a guideline that can help the company adopt a responsible attitude, reduce its levels of packaging waste and move closer to a truly circular economy.
  • Reduce : an effective way to help the environment is to start by simply reducing waste. Packaging manufacturers have long adopted a philosophy of minimizing packaging both to reduce costs and to minimize environmental impact.
  • Reuse Reusable or returnable packaging is designed to be used over and over again, offering significant advantages in terms of sustainability, productivity, food safety and more.
  • Recycle Packaging doesn't have to harm the environment. The solution is to improve recycling rates. To achieve this, manufacturers must ensure that all packaging is recyclable, and government authorities must regulate and standardize the recycling services available to consumers and businesses.
  • Renew By choosing packaging materials that are truly renewable (cardboard boxes are a prime example, as they are made from trees that, in Europe, are replanted in far greater numbers than they are harvested), brand owners can promote sustainability and take the decisive steps towards a circular economy.
  • Replace There is a wide range of packaging materials available on the market today that are both renewable and sustainable, so replacing unsustainable and non-recyclable packaging seems an obvious step in the right direction. Brand owners can replace materials likely to damage our environment with eco-friendly alternatives without any negative impact on their brand image or product shelf appeal.
Tony Hitchin, Managing Director of Pro Carton, said of the campaign, "The world has changed and the 3 Rs of Recycling no longer fully reflect the actions society needs to take to address the plastic waste challenge. We believe it's up to consumers and industry to take responsibility and actively decide to repair the damage done."
"Packaging is an important part of the marketing mix, and its role is much broader than simply protecting the product. It's a key promotional tool that can reinforce a brand's inextricably linked identity, but it doesn't have to cause lasting damage to our planet. Cardboard as a material is made from renewable resources, and is biodegradable and recyclable. It's the natural choice for the packaging industry."
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