Cost is the main supply chain challenge impacting the move to sustainable packaging, according to the new Industrial Physics Sustainable Packaging Research Report. 69% of global packaging professionals surveyed identified cost as the biggest barrier.

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As consumers continue to move toward more conscious consumption, sustainable packaging is a top priority. However, Industrial Physics found that, while most companies are actively seeking sustainable packaging solutions, they still face a number of challenges.

Key findings from the report:

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  • Top challenges include optimizing material performance to protect goods (53%), passing increased material costs onto the consumer (50%), and the ability to meet safety and testing standards (49%).
  • Quality control processes are also an issue – 71% of respondents said these processes are “significantly” or “somewhat more difficult” for sustainable packaging materials.
  • The most common sustainable packaging materials are paper, paperboard, fiberboard plant-based biodegradable flexible packaging, and synthetic biodegradable packaging.
  • New standards and new legislation/regulatory requirements will have the biggest impact on sustainable packaging innovation over the next five years.

Industrial Physics, which offers testing and inspection services, notes that the survey results highlight the need for material testing for all new packaging materials. “A lot of new materials mean that we are dealing with limited established test methods,” said Nico Frankhuizen, the company’s manager of product management.

“It all centers around the idea of being able to confirm that the physical properties, whether it be strength, puncture resistance, life prediction, recyclability, or whatever can meet the performance and durability standards,” added Sean Kohl, global line product director.