The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has launched a free-to-use online tool to help product designers work more sustainably with plastic.
PackScore asks users a set of questions relating to their prospective packaging designs and gives a rating from A to F. This rating is then coupled with information on more effective usage of resources, such as lightweight designs and use of already recycled materials.
The platform has been created to help product designers and manufacturers in the early stages of the design process. Stephen Hunt, membership services director at the BPF, says it’s there to help “facilitate conversations” about sustainable packaging.
“[PackScore is designed] to help designers, retailers and brands understand how simple design choices can help them create packaging that’s easy to recycle,” he says. In this way, designers can scrap plans in their initial stages if they don’t meet recyclability criteria, thereby saving money and resources.
Consumer attitudes towards plastic are increasingly turning. A YouGov survey from earlier this year showed eight in ten Brits were trying to cut their plastic waste, while nearly half of all consumers feel guilty about the amount of plastic they use.
The changing outlook has even prompted the UK’s biggest supermarket chain Tesco to announce a ban on products using hard-to-recycle plastics from 2020. Tesco CEO Dave Lewis told the Guardian: “We can’t overlook the fact that for too long, packaging on consumer goods has been excessive.”
The BPF points out that when used responsibly plastic can be an extremely effective packaging material. The problem is that it often isn’t, which is what the platform is designed to stop.
“Plastic packaging plays a very important role in protecting products, particularly in preventing food waste,” says Hunt.
“By making adjustments to a packaging products design, it’s possible to make the packaging easier to recycle, while keeping the same functionality.”