Home » Circular Economy » How to make packaging more sustainable with a paper-based option

Tony Carroll

Managing Director, AP Controls

Kieran O’Reilly

Sales Manager, AP Controls

Swapping plastic packaging for paper packaging should be on everyone’s agenda because it’s better for businesses, consumers — and the environment.

In 2015, at the Paris Climate Conference, then-US President Barack Obama reminded the audience: “We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change — and we are the last generation that can do something about it.” Those words were alarming — and rightly so, says Tony Carroll, Managing Director of packaging supplier, AP Controls.

Why paper packaging is better than plastic

Carroll also remembers how David Attenborough’s 2018 Blue Planet II documentary made consumers and retailers more eco-aware by highlighting the catastrophic amount of single-use plastic clogging up our rivers and seas.

“Single-use plastic has to stop, or we will not be able to swim in the seas,” says Carroll. “And neither will the fish. The drive to get non-recyclable plastic out of the economy must speed up.”

AP Controls has been promoting eco-friendly, sustainable packaging since 2004 and advocates that retailers should swap non-recyclable plastic packaging for paper. This can take some persuasion, admits Carroll.

“For example, there’s a perception that paper wrap does not give products the same level of protection as plastic wrap,” he says. “In fact, we proved that products are better protected using Geami Paper.”

We are the last generation that can do something about it.

Tony Carroll

Better education needed about the benefits of paper

The company is launching another paper-based innovation: the Trident void-fill system. “Paper is one of the most important renewable sources we have on this planet, and it can be used for so many things,” says Kieran O’Reilly, Sales Manager at AP Controls.

“Our success rate for converting customers from plastic to paper is extremely high when they understand how it will benefit them in terms of feel, protection, price — because it’s cost-effective — and the environment. We need more education on this subject.”

Necessary lifestyle change with sustainable packaging

“For instance, when people complained on social media that a company’s coffee cups were being left by the road, it was forced to bring in biodegradable cups and lids. Change is happening. But it’s like pulling the band-aid off. We just have to do it,” notes O’Reilly.

Carroll agrees that removing single-use plastic from our daily lives will require a massive lifestyle change. However, it must be done. “Can we substitute paper for every single item of single-use plastic?” he asks. “No. But can we substitute 50% of it — or higher — depending on the product and industry? Yes. The only way forward is for consumers to insist on that change.”

Next article