Which Materials = Least Waste?

Crown Abbey now offer a customized Sustainability Analysis for their clients. In this article, we focus on key Waste Questions, as a critical aspect of your product development decisions. You have probably heard of these different options:

  • Post-Consumer Recycled Content (PCR)
  • Compostable materials
  • Bio-based materials
  • Responsibly sourced materials
  • Recycled ready materials
  • Those with the lowest carbon footprint

Every raw material you select for your product, and its packaging might have some or all of these choices available to you – and they all have a different impact on the environment as they are processed, manufactured and disposed of. And, of course the waste impact of each can depend on the supplier, manufacturer and the actions of the end user.

How do you establish a good fit for your product, clients, customers and your company policies?

Around 300 million tons of plastic gets created yearly(1), weighing the same as the entire human population, and 40% is single-use only(2).  We don’t have to look far to realize the devastating impact of poor packaging and product material choices on our waterways, land and air quality.

Waste can be created at any stage of your product and packaging creation – not just the end of life. Waste is created from the raw materials that are used, the processing route, manufacturing requirements, packaging development and after the product is used. Waste can be a material or an object, the by-product of any process or action. It can be defined as:

  • to use too much of something or use something badly when there is a limited amount of it
  • a bad use of something valuable that you have only a limited amount of
  • unwanted matter or material of any type, especially what is left after use
  • an unnecessary or careless use of resources

How do you interact with the issue of waste created in developing your product?

In 2016 in the UK alone, Commercial and Industrial operations generated 38.9 million tonnes of waste. Households generated 27.3 million tonnes. 76% of household wastes are incinerated at Energy from Waste facilities in the UK.(3) How can we design and develop packaging and products that don’t go to landfill but are also doing least damage to the environment at the end of life stage?

How do these statistics impact your product and packaging development?

At each decision gate there is a potential opportunity to request, design and choose to reduce waste. As a brand or manufacturer, you can promote your waste reduction approach and also enable your customers and clients to take action though your communication channels and clear labelling for end of life disposal.

There is a strong drive through government and voluntary initiatives to address the waste issues we are currently facing, on a global scale: The EU Waste and Packaging Directive, Circular Plastics Alliance, the Single Use Plastic Directive, the UK and US Plastics Pact, Break Free from Plastics Pollution Act (US), California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act (US) to name just a few. These Directives and voluntary programs create the picture of industry looking to find ways to reduce its environmental impact through waste reduction.

Crown Abbey can support your company to review your current situation and support you to reach towards new and higher standards of environmental sustainability. We can support through any of the following:

  • Competitor overview
  • End of life for packaging and product review
  • Waste reduction strategies
  • Certification advice, and
  • Policy review and support

Contact us today or check out our website for more information.


  1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/282732…
  2. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats…
  3. Cambridge University Dictionary
  4. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government…)