Although most retail-ready packaging material can be recycled since it’s corrugated cardboard, the main issue with secondary packaging — and packaging in general — is the amount of materials used.

“There’s no question that sustainability is becoming more and more relevant,” said Jorge Izquierdo, vice-president of marketing development, PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. “Even though we are not finding a general push toward new regulation, what we are finding is that consumers are wanting these demands met by brand owners.”

There has been a focus on moving away from packaging products such as cereals or crackers in bags that are then placed in cartons and shipped in cases, said Rick Gessler, vice-president of marketing, engineering and production, Delkor Systems, Inc. To replace the excessive layers of material, more companies are using stand-up pouches.

“You really get better resealability and better graphics and appearance, and the product lasts longer once somebody buys it from the store,” he explained.

Companies are constantly on the search for sustainable solutions that reduce the amount of packaging. Bill Kehrli, vice-president of sales and marketing, Cavanna Packaging, mentioned that, with retail-ready packaging, if there were a way to overlap things with less corrugated material, that would greatly affect the amount of cardboard used.

“Less packaging reduces the total carbon footprint,” Mr. Kehrli said. “You don’t have to recycle it, you don’t have to ship it, so less is more.”