The misconceptions among consumers of what terms like bio-based and biodegradable mean pose challenges for companies putting labels on their products and their packaging.
“There are two huge misconceptions,” said Steve Mojo, executive director of the Biodegradable Products Institute, at the recent Bioplastek conference in New York.
“Eighty-five percent of consumers think that bio-based/renewable also means biodegradable, and 60 percent think biodegradable products magically disappear when you throw it away,” he said. “So the message has to be clear on the package and/or your website -- wherever you expect the consumer to look.
“The challenge all companies will face will be finding a way on the packaging to convey their message -- especially when people are buying the product, not the packaging,” he said. “It is confusing to consumers and it is going to get more so as many people don’t understand what those words really mean.”
You find here my talk entitled: “Bio-coated Paper-Based Flexible Packaging: Functionality and Sustainability” given at the 2011 TAPPI PLACE Flexible Packaging Symposium, April 5, 2011 in Orlando, Florida USA. Here are some highlights:
- The distinctions are subtle but significant: not all bioplastics are created equal and there are a lot of misleading claims out there
- Education is needed to clarify in the minds of consumers and clients, the environmental benefits of these new materials.
- Education: has to be a combined effort from resin makers, converters and the companies that will be selling these products to the consumer