CHICAGO – People used to think the phrase “getting green” was just a phase. But now after four consecutive years of double-digit growth, green packaging and the sustainability market is here to stay, according to Dennis Salazar, president of Salazar Packaging.
During Salazar’s Tuesday session, “Pick and Pack Operations: Why Sustainability Still Matters?” at the Parcel Forum, Salazar admitted that there was a time when all discussion about “getting green” and “saving the planet” was a phase.
But not any longer. It’s the fastest growing segment in the economy, he said, and green packaging is expected to become a $170 billion business in the next two years. “We believe it’s here to stay,” Salazar said.
“People want to know the information about recycled content and how to do it,” Salazar added. In the past, many embraced green packaging and the idea of “getting green” to “save the planet”, Salazar said. “But now it’s more about saving a buck than saving the planet.”
How much savings?
Every situation is different, Salazar explained. “When we audit an installation, it is often not just about the materials they use, it is usually how much they use and how they use them.” Salazar has saved clients as much as 40%, but in most cases savings fall in the 5%-15% range.
Consumers of green packaging scrutinize everything, he said, “especially if it enters their home. They won’t hesitate to complain and share their experiences with others.” In a search for authenticity, Salazar added, branding matters because there is a lot of misinformation out there.
Green packaging is good for top line sales and revenue, Salazar said, and it’s good for the bottom line through reduced costs and greater profits. Although sustainability still “tends to be a well kept secret,” Salazar said the choice of whether to go green is between doing good (saving the planet) versus doing well (potential savings for your company).
“When companies equate green with savings, attitudes will change,” Salazar said. “There is a lot of talk about different shades of green with the darkest green being the most committed.”