By Geoffrey MacKay on Wednesday 18 May 2022
The relationship with single-use packaging in the grocery supply chain is a problem and needs rethinking.
“If you don’t use your power for positive change, you are indeed part of the problem”—Coretta Scott King.
It’s no secret that our relationship with single-use packaging in the grocery supply chain is a problem and needs rethinking. Plastic is ubiquitous and almost unavoidable in supermarkets. Single-use packaging is the standard method of product distribution. While convenient for a few days while it protects food it ultimately remains on the planet for hundreds of years.
Overwhelming Accumulation of Plastic Worldwide
All of these pieces of plastic accumulated in consumers’ shopping carts add up to mountains of waste. Microplastics are being discovered at an increasing rate in humans, animals, and marine life. Their presence at the extremes of the earth (at the top of Mount Everest) and in the depths of oceans (Marianas Trench) has exposed the reach and magnitude of human impact. The United States generates 42 million metric tonnes of plastic waste each year and most end up in oceans or landfills where it takes up to 500 years to break down. A staggering 8 million tonnes leak into the ocean every year — and that number is rising. If we don’t rethink its use, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.
The Call for a Change
We know the world cannot continue operating under a disposable supply chain model hinged on microplastic saturation that compromises ecological and biological well-being. But how realistic is it to halt the damage and achieve regeneration? The urgency has never been greater. Impactful change lies not only in consumer action but in adopting systemic changes in the global supply chain.
In times of great urgency, an escalated response is required. When Covid-19 struck, the global response was unified and aggressive. Nations, industry, and citizens worked together accepting extreme measures and sacrifices for the collective greater good.
Every day around the world emergency workers relentlessly raced through traffic when life was in peril. We find hope and inspiration in stories of superheroes taking an aggressive response when crisis crescendos over a suffering population. Success can be achieved when crisis is countered by a dedicated, unwavering collective effort.
Today an overwhelming majority of businesses, citizens, and governments are demanding action to reduce food packaging and plastic waste. No one wants our planet to be in this precarious position. Is it possible to rethink the way we design, use, and reuse packaging? New North American regulations and grants supporting sustainability are imminent. In response, TAG is tackling the single-use packaging problem aggressively with solutions that are immediate, impactful, and accessible to both consumers and retailers.
TAG: The Easy Solution to Reducing Plastic in the Grocery Supply Chain
TAG is modernising old systems and opening new markets and experiences for food vendors and consumers alike, making the transition to zero waste easy, starting with the TAGCartridge system. Each reusable TAGCartridge replaces the current linear, wasteful supply chain paradigm with a circular, re-usable model that achieves immediate waste reduction results. TAGCartridges’ unique SKU numbers make them easy to follow upon arrival at every touchpoint. Each in-store TAGPod is linked to SKU numbers enabling the ability to track each TAGCartridges’ volume allowing retailers to match real-time supply with demand and reduce food waste.
TAGPod significantly reduces waste and unlike traditional bulk containers, tracking and weighing technologies empower accurate information sharing in the supply chain. The internal scales provide real-time measurements of the volume sold. Accessible TAGData provides insights into consumer purchasing habits by geographical location for accurate production and supply methodology. With consumer demand measured, all that’s left to do is adjust supply as needed. Producers and retailers can use TAGData to optimise production cycles and real-time inventory control and eliminate the need for single-use packaging from farm to table.
With TAGPods, consumers experience a safer and more sanitary retail experience — no more open bins, contaminated food, and scoops. Imagine purchasing the exact quantity of non-perishable products such as cereals, vitamins, and other goods, in a sanitary and efficient way. This way consumers don’t have to choose between collecting food in (yet another!) single-use plastic bag and taring and weighing their reusable container. Individuals’ environmental footprint goes down through the reduced packaging, reduced single plastic use and they only buy what they need, reducing food waste.
In its Roadmap to 2030 report, ReFED, a national non-profit working to eliminate food waste, noted that grocers connect all points along the supply chain from manufacturers to consumers and can exert influence to drive change, but cannot address single-use plastic waste alone.
TAG believes some things are bigger than business — the health and well-being of our planet, our communities, and ourselves. Change to the supply chain is coming, and we’re here to support everyone along the supply chain, reducing costs and increasing long-term profitability.
TAG is at the frontier of the eco-tech revolution to support grocers in the quest to reduce single-use packaging, with a team that is dedicated, relentless, and energetic to galvanize systemic change that results in a less wasteful supply chain and consumption models. Less wasted packaging means less wasted food.