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The Issue

​The Changing Landscape for Packaging Waste

Consumer products and their packaging generate a significant source of waste. In Canada, less than 12% of plastic waste is recycled. And packaging represents 50% of plastic production with a typical lifespan of only six months. Combine increased awareness of environmental impact and the costs of managing packaging waste with resource scarcity, and the stage is set for a dramatic shift to consumer goods. This shift will change how goods are produced, how we consume them and happens when they reach their end of life.

Opportunities in the Circular Economy

The transition from our current linear, take-make-waste system, to a circular economy offers many opportunities. For example, innovations in digital technology have some predicting that all physical products will soon be designed to be tracked from source to end-of-life, dramatically reducing the amount of waste generated across the supply chain. From robotics and artificial intelligence, consumer products will change a great deal in the years to come, and the implications for waste prevention are exciting.



SHIFTING CONSUMPTION

A Business Model For Waste Prevention

In addition to changing what and how we consume products, business model transformation means many products will be rented and returned for reuse rather than purchased and disposed of. The enormous waste produced from packaging and the vast amount of virgin resources used in our current linear system is changing. Increasingly, companies are showing leadership to create much-needed changes to product and packaging design, and governments are also taking action.

The NZWC targets waste generation through initiatives that encourage collaboration across sectors with the potential to influence product design and packaging, support knowledge sharing, and promote innovation.