Further to the usual technical and commercial problems that must be solved on a daily basis, printers of flexible packaging materials are increasingly confronted with several issues that must be dealt with. Packaging is becoming a commodity because there is steep competition – especially from developing countries that have lower labor rates and overhead costs. Increased market growth and competition forces converters to be more productive, which leads to consolidation, closures of obsolete plants and new equipment purchases.
The change in the macroeconomic picture in packaging in turn is changing market conditions for package printers. Runs are getting shorter because of the social evolution of society and finished packaging products are being shipped across various countries. Quality requirements are also increasing. Last but not least, sustainable packaging, lower carbon footprint targets and high energy costs are forcing printers to look at technologies that are environmentally compliant. Sustainability is a driving force in manufacturing. The topic finds great attention in trade of consumable goods and in the packaging industry. It is interesting to note that no common agreement on the definition of sustainable packaging exists. But what is sustainable packaging? Let’s have a look at how the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) defines the term1: