Plastic packaging, a commonly used material across several industries and consumers. It is characterized for being affordable, versatile, durable and its high strength to weight ratio makes it a perfect fit for packaging material. However, this useful material also causes negative impacts on the environment, society and economy. For example, greenhouse gas emissions from its production, composition of various chemical properties and its non-degradable nature leading to increased waste. Moreover, the use of non-renewable fossil feedstocks in its production is also another major concern.
Therefore, to minimize these impacts, the concept of Circular Economy (CE) is seen as a viable measure for the plastic industry to move towards sustainability. Through circular principles of prolonging useful life and reuse of materials, CE helps to shift from the cradle to grave concept. It also encourages production processes to be designed in a way that would encourage more use of renewable resources and eliminate toxic chemicals. Therefore, this study aims to investigate implementation of CE in the plastic packaging industry. CE implementation within an industry is a broad vision that requires collaboration from all actors involved.
Therefore, to gain deeper insight, this study focuses on a single plastic packaging producer using the qualitative research method. Following the case study approach, the producer and two other actors from the same industry were interviewed using a semi-structured interview method. To understand this phenomenon, the business model (BM) concept was used as an analytical framework. BM is visualized using its value categories which focus on how value is created, delivered and captured by businesses. Therefore, the findings reveal that although the producer will continue to do business as usual, partial changes are expected across their offerings and production process. To adapt circular principles, the findings show that the case company is working with strategies such as altering their offerings and selling services in addition to their products. They are also designing products that can be produced with greater fraction of recycled materials in order to achieve the vision of closedloop material flow. For future studies, it would be interesting to see similar sustainable journey of other actors. Such practices would benefit plastic packaging sector to continue business with minimal negative externalities and provide further reflection on challenges to enable more collaboration among the actors of the plastics value chain.
Tahsin Kahn Environmental Economics and Management
Hej! I am Tahsin from Uppsala. I am ambitious to build a career in which I can work closely with sustainability issues such as creating business models as I did in my thesis. As a person, I am friendly, professional, and ready to take up new challenges. I am motivated and is always excited to think outside the box! Hence looking forward to engaging my knowledge in any interesting opportunity that I might come across :) For more information, I can be contacted in the following contact details.