Recyclable Packaging: Will consumers pay more? - Readability Ltd

Recyclable Packaging — Are consumers willing to pay more?

Published by Sam Edney on 22nd August 2022 | General
Plastic waste in the ocean

Single-use plastic is a big issue at the moment. Most people agree that it’s a bad thing, and that we need to move to more sustainable packaging. The problem is that this is likely to lead to increased prices.

So, we’ve been trying to find an answer to this increasingly important question: we all agree we need to live more sustainably; but are consumers really willing to pay extra to do so?

In fact, a recent survey suggests that they are, particularly where the packaging used on the products they buy is recyclable.

The findings of the research

Research carried out by Consumer Intelligence has found that 52% of consumers questioned would pay more for products that come in recyclable packaging.

Of these consumers, around a third said the amount they would be willing to pay is between 1-4% more than the original price, while 15% said they’d be willing to pay up to 20% extra.

These findings provide a welcome counter to those who have resisted using recyclable packaging on the grounds (or assumption) that customers wouldn’t meet the increased costs. While some would certainly be reluctant to pay more, they appear to now be in a dwindling minority.

Are brands doing enough?

Before we congratulate ourselves, however, it’s worth noting that the consumers questioned weren’t satisfied with progress in cutting out single-use plastics. 76% thought that some brands were dragging their heels in moving to sustainable alternatives.

Most of these (67%) said they’d like to see brands moving towards entirely paper-based packaging. This has the advantage that it can go straight into a kerbside recycling stream, whereas much packaging, which combines paper and plastic, can’t be easily recycled.

Best news of all: 54% of the consumers wanted to see a complete end to single-use plastics. Brands, please take note!

The changing face of recyclable packaging

Packaging, much of it consisting of single-use plastic, is used in a wide variety of sectors.

Food and drink, household products, cosmetics, toiletries and fashion are all heavy users of plastic packaging — all or most of which could be replaced by recyclable materials.

Only a few years ago, much of this change would have been difficult, if not impossible, but considerable effort has gone into developing alternatives. For example, bags can now be made that will dissolve in the dishwasher or washing-up bowl into organic materials that won’t harm marine life.

Recycling component parts of the pouch

While it’s entirely possible to make stand-up pouches out of recyclable materials, the problem comes with component additions, such as zips and one-way degassing valves.

These components can be essential to keeping the contents of your pouch fresh after being opened. Generally, bags without a zipper are referred to as single use or refill pouches – which are used to refill hoppers with coffee beans or supply single servings of dried fruits.

It is sometimes the case that resealable zippers and other functional components of pouches cannot be recycled or composted in the same manner as the rest of the pouch. However, we have found a compostable zipper that works and can usually match a zipper to the structure of the pouch, even if you opt for a plastic material. 

At Readability we supply a multitude of different options including kerbside recyclable pouches, compostable triplex laminate plastic free pouches and store front recyclable options. They have different strengths and limitations. The kerbside recyclable paper cannot hold the weight of a zip due to its thin structure. The compostable material can have a compostable zip installed, so the whole pouch remains biodegradable.

And recyclable pouches can have their material substrate matched to the material of the zip so they can be recycled as a single plastic item. All of our pouches can be printed to show clear instructions about recycling or composting, so they can be handled efficiently by your customers.

Readability’s recyclable pouches

Readability has been producing bespoke packaging solutions for thirty years, and we’ve taken pride in our innovations.

We’ve already been offering pouches for some time, but with recent innovations in pouch packaging substrates and advances in the options for recycling and compostability, we’re excited about what the future holds for sustainable pouches.

Our position is summed up like this: whether you need pouches for food and drink, pet foods or health and vitamin supplements, we can provide a pouch that’s exactly suited to your product.

While we’ve always tried to source sustainable materials to offer environmentally friendly packaging (and pouch) solutions as far as possible, the problems mentioned above have sometimes limited our ability to make our pouches completely recyclable.

However, we can now take advantage of developments to make a large proportion of our stand-up pouches entirely recyclable — or even compostable.

Recyclable pouches are good for business

Maybe you’ve been reluctant before now to switch to recyclable pouches because you’ve been afraid that the slight increase in price would put your customers off.

But we think you can afford to relax a little.

As this research suggests, more than half your customers will not only be quite happy to pay a premium for sustainability — it will actually help persuade them to choose you, rather than your cheaper but non-sustainable competitors.

Next steps

If you want to talk about our sustainable pouches for food and drink, snacks, pet food products and vitamins and supplements, give us a call now and we’ll be pleased to advise you on sourcing the right solution. Or you simply want to find out more about what our bespoke, fully recyclable stand-up pouches can do for your brand, get in touch with us or request a sample pack and we’ll be delighted to help.

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