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Enviro Rx, September 2015

Packaging is as critical to modern life as the water supply system. Towns and cities could not exist without it and today more than half the global population live in urban areas. Ten times more resources go into producing products than making their packaging so the packaging has to ensure that those resources do not go to waste. Only the manufacturer knows the stresses and strains that the product has to endure – how high it has to be stacked in storage, how it fits in the distribution trucks, how the filling machinery works and what temperature ranges it will meet. For this reason, manufacturers need to be able to choose from the widest possible range of types of packaging to match it to the requirements of the product, the supply system and the end-user. As consumers, we only see packaging when the product has reached the shop. By then it has almost finished its useful life. None of us, therefore, have sufficient knowledge to be able to judge how much or how little is required for each product. This is a major challenge to packagers. The packaging industry wants to save on materials without compromising the stability in any way. However, there is still significant room for improvement in how packaging is made. Each stage of its production – forestry, pulping, processing, and printing – has associated environmental and human impacts. Thanks to packagers for all their progress to date and continued good works!

- Lisa James.

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