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The Times ‘Future of Packaging Report 2020’

It’s that time of year again, the release of The Times ‘Future of Packaging’ report! Here, we will share with you what we have digested; divulging the key insights into the packaging industry over the last year, as well as exploring what the future holds.

Below are some the highlights of the report that you aren’t going to want to miss!

1. COVID-19 has redefined sustainability

It’s impossible to look back over the last 12 months and disregard COVID, and we shouldn’t! Whilst COVID has shaken the world, there is some positivity that has stemmed from it.

Prior to the pandemic, the desire for a more sustainable environment was at an all-time high. Pressure from the government and consumers meant that companies of all types were beginning to take action. However, with the high number of infections and hygiene concerns, the fear was that single use plastic would increase and sustainability would be disregarded. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case.

In fact, a survey including more than 40,000 consumers across the world, revealed that 35% of people have changed their sustainability habits since the end of May for the better. This shows sustainability continues to be a priority and individuals more eco-conscious, even during a national pandemic.

The pandemic also created a boom in ecommerce and home shopping. With the closing of retail shops and lock down restrictions, companies refocused strategies and addressed an increased need to deliver their products to their consumers safely and sustainably. This inevitably saw an increase in environmentally friendly packaging.

As a sustainable packaging consultancy, we can relate. During the pandemic we have seen a steady influx of enquiries from companies across all sectors who are committed to finding more sustainable packaging alternatives, away from plastic and polystyrene.

It turns out that COVID really has put sustainability at the focus.

ecommerce shopping



2. Plastic tax is looming!

It pains us to say that the UK is one of the top five processors of plastic in the European Union. This has to change.

In order to overcome this and remove both plastic and polystyrene from the environment, the government is introducing a plastic packaging tax from April 2022. This means that plastic packaging produced in, or imported into the UK, which does not contain at least 30 percent recycled plastic, will be subject to a levy of £200 a tonne. This will incentivise businesses to use recycled materials as it will now make more economic sense, as well as environmental, to use alternative packaging. 

It is widely thought that the plastic packaging tax will revolutionise the UK’s recycling industry. If you would like to know more about how this tax will affect your business, our team will happily explore the logistics and cost comparisons for switching to more sustainable packaging materials. You can read more about the tax here.


Leading giants


3. The giants leading the way

It is always great to see the “giants” share their commitment to becoming more sustainable. Coca Cola have recently pledged that by 2025, all of their packaging will be 100% recyclable.

However, these ambitions are by no means restricted to the “giants”. We have experience of working with both small companies and some of the largest manufacturers in the UK; our processes always remain the same. We take a look at the company’s logistics and the products and from that, advise on the most suitable packaging materials tailored to that company.


4. Key facts and the power of the consumer

As highlighted, consumers continue to value sustainable packaging options over alternatives and expect complete transparency from the brands they are buying from. They want to understand where their products come from and what the company’s environmental footprint is. Trust is key.

The report revealed that:


70% of consumers have changed their shopping habits as a result of concerns over packaging

30% have changed their regular brand as a direct result of their attitude towards packaging


You guessed it, consumers hold the power and they want it all! They clearly have a preference for the most sustainable packaging, but they also want it to be beautiful in design, making that great first impression.

Whilst foremost, packaging has to protect products, it doesn’t mean it can’t look great. At Switch, using our in-house 3D CAD software, we work with companies to advise and create stunning designs so they can easily visualise how their packaging will look.



The future is looking very bright for sustainable packaging. Attitudes in favour of more sustainable processes continue to grow and the possibilities are expanding. You can take a look at the complete report here.

Our friendly expert team are continually ahead of the latest developments and are always here to help. If you have any questions or would like any more information on how sustainable packaging could work for your company, please complete the form below or give us a ring. We always make it easy to Switch.



solid board packaging

Solid Board


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