Written by Sarah Roomi
Andrew MacDonald is a project manager at PAC NEXT. He has been a lecturer at Ryerson University where he taught Sustainable Print & Packaging, Management Studies, and the Thesis Course. He also runs his own sustainability consulting business.
What is PAC?
PAC is a nonprofit that serves member organizations by offering opportunities to learn to collaborate and to innovate and those organizations are represented throughout the packaging value chain. PAC Next is a program devoted to sustainability and circularity including a webinar series, policy updates and an online course. More details can be found at pac.ca.
PAC Next Objective
The PAC NEXT vision is a world without packaging waste. The main objective of PAC NEXT is to facilitate the convergence of ideas and identify sustainable solutions that lead to zero packaging waste. The PAC Next program serves North America and shares solutions globally.
Macdonald says “Humans when truly pressed can implement bigger solutions not just talk about them but really move the proverbial needle and that needle can reflect the fundamental social issues of our times and fundamental environmental challenges”
Inspiring Examples of Actions at PAC Next
Managing Packing Waste: Introduced an emerging global plastics pact. 10 of them in counting including a Canada’s plastic pact which launched in January 2021 of which PAC is a founding member. All these initiatives tend to require baseline assessments and ongoing tracking to measure progress against goals.
In the summer of 2019, PAC Next team began the creation of an online packaging assessment and optimization tool called Packaging Innovation Pathway to 360°.
Macdonald describes PIP360° truly as a collaborative journey involving representatives of roughly 30 companies and organizations from the packaging value chain. Some of which include:
Loblaws Companies Limited
Save on foods
These companies are also known as the PIP360° early adopters!
Purpose of PIP360°: It provides an efficient but rigorous method of benchmarking packaging products and portfolios and mapping pathways for improvement. Most importantly the tool addresses all materials not just Plastics, The tool covers all materials and it's not just about recyclability but also embraces reusability and compostability.
Andrew MacDonald Believes “A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.”
Packaging Sustainability Framework
Packaging sustainability framework has to be effective in performing critical functions while at the same time minimizing negative environmental and social impact and when dealing with those impacts it's useful to know where most of the impacts are coming from.
Considerations for Packaging Circularity
Circular packaging is designed to maximize the recovery of materials, energy and water throughout its lifecycle.
Consider design for reuse, recycled content, recyclability, and compostability
Reduce consumption of virgin materials
Reduce reliance of non-renewable resources
“Reuse models are a critical tool in the fight against plastic waste, and brands and retailers are increasingly exploring them as a viable waste reduction strategy.”
“The future for reuse is bright, and now we need to work collaboratively toward it.”
Kate Daly, Managing Director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Close Loop Partners.
Macdonald also mentioned the launch of a major reuse platform launched in Ontario Canada last month, it is called Loop. It is a brainchild of a Canadian Tom Szaky the founder of TerraCycle and most recently presented with the PAC and was part of a February panel of Global Leadership Awards.
Andrew MacDonald polished off his presentation by emphasizing the importance of sustainability and sustainable development as it saves national budget, fulfills the need of people, conserves natural resources, helps in the coordination between the natural resources and people and conserves natural resources for future generation.