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Challenges and opportunities of packaging in a circular economy


WPO – World Packaging Organisation, USA


The world is facing great societal challenges. Packaging can contribute in solving some of them. Packaging can have many positive roles in the future circular economy. Biggest challenges of packaging in the future are plastics; while they are competitive in many ways, they also cause huge environmental problems. Problems that packaging – especially plastic packaging – is causing to environment must be solved in order to reach functioning circular economy. In the future packaging must be made from renewable materials and it must be 100 % recyclable or biodegradable.


Packaging’s primary job is to protect the packaged product

Traditionally packaging is understood as processes and materials employed to contain, handle, protect or transport an article. These traditional roles of packaging are evolving and may also include functions such as to attract attention, assist in promotion, provide machine identification, impart essential or additional information, and help in utilisation. Therefore in a nutshell, packaging can described as the technology of designing, evaluating, and producing packages enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale and use.

Packaging has no intrinsic value i.e. packaging has a role; packaging plays an important role in making products available to the market. Packaging is an integral and necessary part of all modern societies (14).

What is a circular economy?

The term Circular Economy encompasses more than the production and consumption of goods and services, including a shift from fossil fuels to the use of renewable energy, and the role of diversity as a characteristic of resilient and product ...

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