Achieving a circular economy for plastic packaging requires upstream innovation - recycling alone will not be enough.
Upstream innovation is thinking and development that happens before a product reaches the customer. For packaging, this, among others, includes new delivery models. More specifically Elimination: New delivery models that eliminate the need for packaging all together Reuse: Rethinking the business model in a way that allows packaging to be reused over and over
These types of approaches have been found to not only come with environmental benefits such as lower GHG emissions and waste reductions but also come with additional business benefits such as higher customer loyalty, optimised operations, superior user experience, etc.
So, while upstream innovation is inevitable if we want to solve the plastic pollution crisis, it also provides an exciting opportunity for businesses to be at the forefront of a rapidly changing packaging landscape and develop the delivery models of the next decades.
Sara oversees the Foundation's innovation work within plastic packaging. Based on the principles of circular economy, she works with large corporates as well as emerging innovators from across the industry to rethink and redesign plastics packaging and drive momentum towards upstream solutions.
Most recently, Sara has been working on the publication called Reuse - Rethinking Packaging, that highlights and investigates the benefits of switching to reusable packaging from a business perspective.
Prior to joining the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Sara obtained her PhD in Polymer Physics at the Technical University of Denmark. She has a background in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and has studied in Denmark, Zürich, Canada, and Belgium.