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Companies around the world have been accused of adding to the worsening climate crisis by putting profits ahead of the environment.

“While local packaging manufacturer Nampak is determined to forge an environmentally friendly path, they are also looking towards putting strategies in place to promote the use of cartons.”

Managing Director for Paper and Eastern Africa Nampak Liquid Cartons, Quinton Swart, said it is looking towards limiting the use of plastic and has already put strategies in place to promote the use of cartons.

Currently, Nampak’s cartons are 100% recyclable and between 76% to 85% renewable depending on the size and composition of the carton, he said.

“Plastic does have a role to play in packaging, however, we need to ensure we use plastic packaging responsibly by reducing, reusing and recycling.”

Swart explained Nampak was continuously researching and developing initiatives. “This includes light weighting, enhancing recycling rates, and reducing the use of single-use plastic packaging where possible and replacing it with alternative packaging such as cartons and/or aluminium cans.”

Furthermore, “that product appropriate packaging should be used where possible and where single use plastic can be avoided, it should.”

But as a packaging manufacturer, Nampak has its work cut out. “We are faced with challenges such as the constant need to learn so we can expand our vision but also to create learning opportunities to approach both emerging and traditional business challenges using innovative ways and means.”

This includes educating customers about the environmental impacts of different packaging types. Apart from limiting its use of plastic, Nampak had also looked elsewhere its bid to reduce harmful greenhouse gases.

“Nampak participates in extensive recycling initiatives and continues to invest significant time and resources into the development of more sustainable products,” Swart said.

He cited the example of the use of liquid cartons in South Africa which were not only recyclable, but were being recycled.

“By influencing consumers to make better purchasing decisions, Nampak Liquid Cartons is contributing to turning the tide on global warming. The trees planted to make cartons absorb carbon dioxide while they are growing. The carbon stays in the fibres and can be used to generate energy such as electricity post-consumer use.”

Apart from plastic alternatives in the plastic industry, Swart said there were many economically friendly trends that Nampak and its peers could learn from.

“We are seeing a huge increase in the demand for smaller carton portion packs in South Africa and the rest of Africa, because it is so cost effective.”

Paper is growing as a packaging of choice and packaging of the future will include biodegradable and space saving packaging and reusable packaging, he said.

The Saturday Star