A panel of experts at the easyFairs Packaging & Print Portfolio 2012 have urged that packaging companies need to take more responsibility and control when designing a bag or package for a product.

Held in Birmingham, UK, the panel discussed their concerns over the question if sustainable packaging was saving the planet or costing the earth.

Chairman of the debate Kevin Vyse kicked of the debate by saying that the logic of sustainable solutions is missing as light-weighting has caused consumers to use two carrier bags in place of one and that a hesham bag takes 200 times more energy than to manufacture a plastic bag.

Tangible Branding managing director Dominic Box said that the manufacturer’s role is to reduce cost and create green packaging, leaving it to the interest of the consumers whether to buy the product or not.

"Ultimately the primary concern for the shopper is the impact on their pocket, rather than the long term impact on the planet," Box added.

The panel observed that consumers, who will pay for added benefits and functional convenience, will not accept a reduction in performance and expect lower prices for environment-friendly packaging instead.

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Another panel member said that consumers struggle with packaging when it comes to disposal and quiet often packaging that is hard to recycle stays on the shelf.

Freelance journalist and broadcaster Tom Heap said everything else other than protection and selling aspects of the products, usually becomes secondary for consumers.

NNFCC head of materials for energy and industry John Williams brought to the panel that packaging industry should make use of this opportunity to show a real difference, expressing the need for a holistic approach into the whole supply chain.

Other members of the panel included Giraffe Innovation director Rob Holdway and Sainsbury’s head of packaging and design Stuart Lendrum.