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Signify to ditch plastic packaging for consumer products by 2021

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Signify has announced plans to phase out the use of plastics in its packaging for consumer products by 2021. 

The lighting manufacturer behind brands such as Philips and Varilight announced the move as part of its drive to be more eco-conscious. Signify noted that by ditching plastic packaging on its consumer products, it can avoid the use of 2,500 tonnes of plastic each year. 

With an estimated eight million tons of plastic ending up in the ocean each year – killing one million marine birds and threatening hundreds of marine life species – Signify believes that it needs to play its part in helping save the environment. The company already utilises 80% recycled paper for its packaging, although some of its consumer products have continued to use plastic, which will end in 2021. 

Plastic packaging will be replaced by recycled paper-based materials, with Signify already having begun replacing the plastic blister packaging for its LED lamps with paper-based materials in the Pacific, which the firm says resulted in an increase in sales.

“Plastic waste has a very negative impact on our planet and its biodiversity and we decided that we must take a leading role and start using plastic-free alternatives. It is the right thing to do and meets the increasing expectations of our customers,” said Eric Rondolat, CEO of Signify. 

“I look forward to the moment that we can announce that we no longer use plastics in our packaging.”

While consumer products will get a plastic-free overhaul, Signify hasn’t commented on when professional products will be getting a similar treatment. 

On average, Signify’s packaging policy already requires all packaging to contain more than 80% recycled paper and virgin materials must be from certified renewable sources. In cases where paper-based materials aren’t applicable, Signify looks into other non-plastic alternatives. Signify has already started the phase-out of plastic by removing commonly used plastic inserts from Philips Hue bulb packaging. It has also selected paper foam to package the recently launched Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box. Replacing blister packs with paper-based box packaging will be sequenced across the company’s product portfolio and different regions, starting with LED bulbs in Europe in the third quarter of 2020, and the rest of the world following from the start of 2021.

“When we replaced our packaging in the Pacific region, customers said that it was more appealing and environmentally friendly,” Rondolat added. 

“I call upon other companies to join us in making the switch and will gladly share our lessons learned.”

Through the phasing out of plastic, as well as other measures to drive sustainability across Signify, the firm notes that it is on track to achieve complete carbon neutrality in 2020. Signify has already achieved carbon neutrality in 15 of its 19 markets, and was recognised in 2019 by being named Industry Leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the third year in a row.

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