Plastic packaging

Packaging plays a crucial role when it comes to protecting, transporting, and selling food & beverage products. The primary function of packaging is to ensure the longest possible product shelf life, which results in less product waste. All packaging materials have their key attributes and disadvantages, as well as different usages. Compared with other packaging materials, plastic has a low CO2 impact during production, but also during transportation. This is because it requires less energy to produce plastic than, for example, metals and glass packaging. You also need much fewer trucks to transport empty packaging, because it is a very light material. In addition, plastic packaging is relatively cheap and very flexible. It can be turned into virtually any shape, which provides endless opportunities when it comes to packaging food & beverage products.

As a result of its positive attributes, plastic packaging has become a very popular material – and its use continues to increase globally. However, there is also a flipside to plastic packaging. There is growing public pressure from consumers, regulators, and other stakeholders to tackle the growing negative environmental impact of plastic packaging. Especially the pollution of rivers and oceans is of grave concern across the globe.

Rabobank believes that all packaging materials have their important functions and that a world without plastic packaging is not realistic. There are, however, many different options to reduce the negative impact and to make the plastic packaging industry more sustainable. For instance, by investing together in better waste infrastructure, making greater use of recycling, and innovating to develop new solutions. Rabobank is a great believer and supporter of cooperation across the supply chain, helping to develop real and actionable solutions to tackle plastic waste. The packaging material is not the problem; it’s what we do – or don’t do – with it post-usage that is the key challenge.

Rabobank’s approach to packaging

  • Rabobank finances companies across all packaging materials: glass, metal, paper, and plastics, as part of our commitment to feeding the world sustainably. Packaging is needed to reduce food waste and food losses.
  • Sustainable packaging is a permanent topic during discussions with our packaging industry clients.
  • We bring customers from the entire chain together to work on packaging solutions. For example, like at the Rabobank North America Food & Beverage Packaging Forum, launched in 2019.
  • We offer sustainable financing options such as Green Loans. We also have a number of initiatives to stimulate start-ups and innovation such as the Rabo Sustainable Innovation Award, the Circular Economy Challenge, and FoodBytes!
  • Within Rabobank’s Banking for Food Inspiration Center a team of analysts located in different regions of the world is specialised in food packaging and food logistics.

Plastic: an introduction

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