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Aug 3rd, 2020
This wouldn’t be the first time in history that public interests and sentiment caused a shift in their choice of packaging and supplies. Years ago, plastic bags replaced paper bags in grocery stores. The bags were developed as an alternative to paper, because they would save trees. When the sustainability of plastic began to be questioned, localities began to ban plastic bags or tax them as a disincentive. The pendulum is swinging once again. The trend back to single use containers and disposable supplies began with concerns about how COVID-19 was transmitted and how long it could live on surfaces. Safety is more important than sustainability in the COVID era. Customers are faced with trade-offs.
The Hartman Group focuses it’s research on health and wellness as well as sustainability according to an article in The Shelby Report. “I think in this time of COVID, we obviously made some trade-offs in terms of things like sustainability for safety. And so, safety is really winning right now,” stated Hartman CEO Laurie Demeritt.
Food items, dry beverages, baby formula and powdered supplements that are sealed in cans were desirable because they preserved freshness, were affordable and prevented contaminants from getting into consumables. They are non-porous and could be easily disinfected. This cause a huge demand for cans. Most consumers don’t realize that steel cans are the most sustainable package. Even if the consumer does not recycle them, they separate easily from other waste by magnet, can be recycled and made in to new products – even new cans.
Most supply chains have been disrupted by coronavirus shutdowns. According to the trade group, The Can Makers Institute, acquiring the needed metal hasn’t been a problem. Despite the tariffs the Trump administration placed on imported steel and other metals, recycling provides can producers with a reliable source — about 71% of steel food containers are recycled.
When a company chooses cans for their food products, the worry over keeping with the sustainability goals of their company, safety for their customers and supply chain disruptions are mitigated. It is a win-win for the company, the safety of the consumer and the environment.