Deep Dive

Industry insights from our journalists

  • A loader manages compost at a Recology facility
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    Courtesy of Recology
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    Compostable packaging’s contested, complicated past doesn’t determine its future

    Composters can struggle to manage the wide variety of new packaging entering the market, leading to greater calls for labeling guidelines and testing. Cities like San Francisco and Minneapolis offer case studies in how to make it work.

    Mary Catherine O'Connor • Dec. 5, 2023
  • Labels on brown packaging
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    The image by Assemblies Unlimited is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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    Compostable packaging is still evolving but popular. Here’s where experts say it could be most effective.

    From farmers markets to Walmart to stadiums, compostable packaging is on the rise. Elevate Packaging, NatureWorks, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and others weigh in on how to get it right.

    Hollie Stephens • Dec. 4, 2023
  • Rolls of paper being printed on industrial machinery.
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    Permission granted by Georgia-Pacific
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    ‘Revolutionary’ digital printing technology uptake expected to accelerate for packaging

    DS Smith, Georgia-Pacific, International Paper, WestRock, O-I Glass and others are among the companies innovating with this technology, which can increase precision and reduce waste. 

    Katie Pyzyk and Shaun Lucas • Nov. 29, 2023
  • A photo composite of tetra pack bottle being lassoed. The background is a screen shot from the 2012 Green Guides.
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    Photo illustration: Shaun Lucas/Industry Dive; Getty Images; Federal Trade Commission 

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    Taming the wild west of environmental marketing: A Green Guides history

    More than 30 years after state attorneys general pushed for scrutiny of marketing claims, the packaging landscape is as complicated as ever. Did the guides serve their original purpose?

    Mary Catherine O'Connor • Updated Sept. 6, 2023
  • A person opens a box with a product wrapped in filler packaging in front of a video camera.
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    Milko via Getty Images
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    Packaging evolves in response to ‘unboxing’ videos flooding social media

    Brands are requesting customized boxes to touch consumers’ emotions and build loyalty. Filler material, in-box printing and sustainability contribute to memorable unboxing moments, too.

    Katie Pyzyk • Aug. 16, 2023
  • Upside down plastic bottles
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    sebasnoo via Getty Images
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    Demand for recycled plastic in packaging is growing. So are concerns about potential health risks.

    Recent studies have raised questions about health effects from plastic, including recycled material, as companies and regulators increasingly look at ways to advance the use of recycled resin in food-grade packaging.

    April Reese • June 26, 2023
  • Person holding hamburger in a wrapper
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    hapabapa via Getty Images
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    As PFAS restrictions advance, paper industry struggles to phase out use

    The toxic “forever chemicals” have long been used in the packaging sector. While companies say they’re being phased out, finding alternatives and fully eliminating them from effluent remain ongoing issues.

    April Reese • April 3, 2023
  • Photo illustration of cardboard box
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    Photo illustration: Shaun Lucas/Industry Dive; Getty Images

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    5 factors influencing packaging design and operations

    From navigating inflation and changing regulations to assessing the impact of automation and plastics M&A, these are some of the top industry trends to watch.

    Katie Pyzyk, Maria Rachal and Cole Rosengren • March 27, 2023