Packaging Sustainability for Wet Wipes

Sustainable packaging is at the forefront of all industries and with new regulations for brands and retailers the time is now to act.  Ahead of GO Wipes Europe we spoke to Andrew Streeter, Director, CPS International to hear his perspectives sustainable packaging for wet wipes and changes he can forsee within the industry. 

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What are the top 3 changes that you can anticipate for wet wipes packaging in the future?

1) Wet wipes needs to lose its commodity with a graphics branding face persona if it is going to grow value and invest in the needs of the future like environmental responsibility.  It’s about product and packaging; gaining real physical diffrentation along with surface decoration will be required.

2) Part of that move needs to include physical pack development to improve and match consumer usage needs over current standards and use that move to engender brand loyalty

3) Those two dynamics combined might stimulate more usage occasions for wet wipes which in turn would require bespoke packaging to match the new usage event.  That to me is a Win-Win!


How can sustainability and wet wipes packaging work together?

This is a complex issue.  Wipes have worked hard to be ‘disposable’ within the municipal waste system in many (but not all) cases but the pack is just thrown away.  This is of course an ingrained habit of the human condition that has been made tolerable with the wipes in some cases but not the pack.  We should note that ridged packs are often single substrates like polypropylene or polyethylene blends and these can be recycled in the municipal streams if those streams provide the facilities but that is a big if.  Multi-layered flexibles packaging are not recyclable as single substrates like aluminium, some PET, board and other packaging materials.  Sooner or later that fact will catch-up with the industry and so early-on planning for more eco-friendly pack flexibles materials would be appropriate.  When that point is reached you have some ‘disposable’ wipes and more tangible recyclable packs; not perfect but a step change over current practice. Then you can then apply the marketing and communication forces that promoted wipes ‘disposability’ to promote the eco credentials of the total brand offer which, and I refer back to the first question, should have more consumer driven usage features which would now include pack eco-responsibility disposability built into the brand values.  All this in a practical way that adds value to the brand. The product in usage needs a consumer, the pack needs a consumer and a municipal authority or another party to continue its life after brand use in another beneficial way.  So, reflecting on the question, I sense the technology is there, or could be developed to form an ‘eco-partnership’ (pack and product) but it requires the disposability mechanism to show and implement the same imagination and dynamism to achieve an effective outcome for the pack. And the pack is now an integral part of the brand not just a container.  Suspect the industry needs to bounce a few important politicians around instead of being bounced around by the politicians!