Versuni, the company previously known as Philips Domestic Appliances, recently made a pledge to transition to entirely recycled and fully recyclable paper packaging, with the goal of phasing out all single-use plastic components within a four-year timeframe. How is it aiming to achieve this objective? Calum Armstrong, Versuni’s Head of Design, let us know more.
I’d like to talk a bit about the news surrounding Versuni’s latest packaging update – namely that the packaging portfolio for its Philips home appliances range will be made from 100% recycled and recyclable paper. Could you tell readers who may have missed this announcement a bit more, and explain how you arrived at this decision? Why paper?
At Versuni, transforming waste into a resource is one of our sustainability strategy’s guiding principles. This not only applies to the materials within our products but also the materials that we pack them in. Introducing 100% recycled cardboard into our packaging is a significant step in this journey.
The key for us was to ensure the more sustainable packaging still played its fundamental role of safeguarding our high-quality products without the need for additional protection. The recycled cardboard’s remarkable strength just does this, protecting our appliances throughout the transportation journey.
How does the new packaging compare to previous versions in terms of functionality and product protection, and have you undertaken any LCAs that show that the new packs have a lower carbon footprint than the old ones?
In designing our more sustainable packaging we leveraged the Circular Design Metrics tool, created by our packaging partner DS Smith in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, to evaluate its environmental impact. This included looking at CO2 emission reduction, a crucial element in our decision-making process, alongside factors like product protection.
Our sustainability efforts are closely tied to space optimization to minimize material consumption and eliminate unnecessary air within our packaging. This approach not only reduces the packaging size but also has a positive influence on logistics and transportation efficiency which in turn supports CO2 emission reductions.
Have you been following the recent developments related to the EU’s Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, which has sparked considerable industry discussion? How do you anticipate these suggestions may impact the operations of Versuni?
As a global company, we closely follow the regulatory developments across markets worldwide. These help to inform how we continue to develop our products and packaging.
Regarding reusable packaging, where does Versuni stand, and what initiatives do you believe companies similar to yours could undertake to promote its broader adoption?
Achieving reusable packaging in the domestic appliances industry involves a multi-faceted approach that considers design, logistics, and consumer engagement and involvement.
Reusable packaging is an interesting topic that one company cannot achieve on its own. To establish a shared reverse logistics framework that is truly efficient requires industry-wide and cross-industry collaboration, as well as consumer engagement and involvement. We currently have a project running in this area as a pilot.
As a standalone company, there are some steps that we can take. At Versuni we are using returnable pallets and returnable containers where possible within our wider supply chain. This is still a work in progress and we are investigating how to reutilise the pallets throughout our supply network.
As we look ahead, what are the key components of Versuni’s packaging strategy for the future? Are there any emerging trends you foresee gaining prominence in the years to come?
We’re actively researching new materials and packaging methods to achieve our plastic-free packaging goal within four years. It’s a challenging but essential endeavour, also as we must consider current regulations around using recycled plastic to protect food-contact parts.
But we are committed to meeting our single-use plastic commitment within four years, while ensuring the protection of our products is in no way compromised. We are currently running advanced development projects with our R&D teams and suppliers/partners to find the solutions.
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Also, if you’re interested in packaging sustainability, you will want to attend our Sustainable Packaging Summit in Amsterdam on 14-15 November. The Summit brings together leaders and pioneers from across the industry to align strategically, learn, network, and create a critical mass to accelerate change. You can learn more by clicking here, and you can buy a ticket to attend here.