Simone Málaga explores some of the recyclable packaging trends in Brazil, what’s driving change in the sector, and what the future holds.
Brazil, although slow to incorporate recycling in the past, is today embracing the potential of recycling in line with demand from businesses and consumers. Simone Málaga, Commercial Director of AR Metallizing Brazil, explores some of the eco-friendly and recyclable packaging trends in Brazil, what’s driving change in recyclable packaging, and what the future holds.
‘What’s interesting is that in Brazil, multinational companies and producers are the forefront of the shift for recycling and using recyclable packaging materials, sometimes even ahead of governments or municipalities, which tends to be more the norm in Europe or the States,’ says Simone. Like other countries, Brazil is an importer of many goods, but the companies bringing commodities and products into the country are bringing more than just imports. ‘Multinational companies have already shifted their mindset with regards to the need for eco-friendly packaging in line with their global sustainability targets, so naturally Brazil is positively affected by these trends. There was also a shift around the 2016 Olympics,’ explains Simone.
A greener outlook and the trend towards recycling isn’t just an imported idea, however. ‘Until relatively recently, Brazil’s recycling infrastructure and policies were relatively modest, and there was a heavy reliance on manual collection of goods like paper, cardboard, aluminum or glass, rather than a move towards automated collection systems. Both the Brazilian people and our domestic brands have been at the center of demanding change,’ says Simone.
With nearly 80% of Brazil’s 211 million population living in urban areas, working with recyclable materials is a key consideration for many of the country’s biggest brands. ‘Just as we’re seeing global companies make commitments towards using recyclable materials, Brazilian companies are no different. AR Metallizing, in different forms, has been present in Brazil for more than fifty years. Sustainable packaging and eco-friendly materials weren’t on the radar back when we were founded, but today these characteristics are key points of consideration when it comes to packaging materials,’ Simone adds.
Overall, Brazil is perhaps best known for its aluminum recycling which is higher than the global average rate, but other materials are paper and cardboard is also commonly recycled. As citizens, recycling and how understanding how unrecycled materials are affecting the environment is also increasingly part of the everyday narrative in Brazil. More than ever before, people are aware that there needs to be a preference for recyclable packaging, especially with Brazil’s growing consumerism.
‘The demand for sustainable structures has grown quickly over time. This is mainly due to the positioning of the major market leaders. There is still a lack of understanding of what is effectively sustainable, recyclable, re-pulpable and biodegradable, but gradually this scenario is moving in the right direction. The work and cooperation among the parties involved, which includes end users, converters and the manufacturers of raw materials is crucial for us to be more assertive for a better world,’ says Simone.
And what about AR Metallizing specifically? ‘At AR Metallizing, we are pleased to be really at the forefront of the sustainable packaging trend.
Our local R&D team works extensively on how different projects that have an ecological consideration. The team is working to see how we can tackle food waste with recyclable direct food contact packaging, for example,’ says Simone, in conclusion.